A minority of patients with severe gastroesophageal reflux who present to surgeons for antireflux surgery have absent esophageal peristalsis when investigated before surgery with esophageal manometry. Some of these patients also have systemic sclerodema. While conventional wisdom suggests that these patients are at risk of a poor outcome if they proceed to fundoplication, some will have severe reflux symptoms, which are poorly controlled by medical therapy, and surgery will therefore offer the only chance of 'cure'. We performed this study to determine the outcome of laparoscopic fundoplication in the subset of patients with gastroesophageal reflux and an aperistaltic esophagus. From 1991 to 2003, the operative and follow-up details for all 1443 patients who underwent a laparoscopic fundoplication in our Departments have been prospectively collected on a database. These patients were then followed yearly using a standardized symptom assessment questionnaire. A subset of patients whose preoperative esophageal manometry demonstrated complete absence of esophageal body peristalsis and absent lower esophageal sphincter tone (aperistaltic esophagus) were identified from this database, and their outcome following laparoscopic fundoplication was determined. Twenty-six patients with an aperistaltic esophagus who underwent a laparoscopic fundoplication were identified. Six of these had a systemic connective tissue disease (scleroderma), and 20 had an aperistaltic esophagus without a systemic disorder. A Nissen fundoplication was performed in four patients, and an anterior partial fundoplication in 22. Follow-up extended up to 12 years (median, 6). A good overall symptomatic outcome was achieved in 88% at 1 year, 83% at 2 years and 93% at 5-12 years follow-up. Reflux symptoms were well controlled by surgery alone in 79% at 1 year, and 79% at 5-12 years. At 2 years, 87% were eating a normal diet. Two patients underwent further surgery - one at 1 week postoperatively for a tight esophageal hiatus, and one at 1 year for recurrent reflux. Patients with troublesome reflux and an aperistaltic esophagus can be effectively treated by laparoscopic fundoplication. An acceptable outcome will be achieved in the majority of patients.