Background: Scleroderma is associated with severe esophageal dysmotility and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Results after antireflux surgery have been suboptimal due to the profound esophageal dysmotility seen in this disease. We hypothesized that laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP) would lead to less dysphagia and better control of GERD symptoms. This report summarizes our initial results of RYGBP compared with other surgical approaches.
Methods: A retrospective review identified scleroderma patients who underwent surgical management of GERD from 1995 to 2006. Complications and reinterventions were recorded. Symptom control was assessed by validated questionnaires that measured dysphagia (0 to 5; 0 = no dysphagia), GERD-heartburn-related quality of life index (0 to 45; 0 = best, 45 = worst), and overall quality of life with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey.
Results: Twenty-three scleroderma patients underwent surgical treatment for GERD (fundoplication, n = 10; RYGBP, n = 8; esophagectomy, n = 5). One patient died after esophagectomy and major morbidity occurred in 3 of the remaining 4 patients. No major complications occurred in any patient undergoing either fundoplication or RYGBP. Eighteen patients underwent evaluation by questionnaire at a median of 21 months postoperatively. Decreased dysphagia (0.42 versus 1.86, p = 0.05) and improved control of reflux (GERD-heartburn-related quality of life index score 4 versus 15.6, p = 0.05) were observed in the RYGBP patients compared with those undergoing fundoplication.
Conclusions: A high complication rate was seen among patients undergoing esophagectomy. Both reflux control and dysphagia rates were improved in the RYGBP group compared with fundoplication. This finding suggests that RYGBP may be an option for the primary management of scleroderma-associated gastroesophageal reflux.