Clinical utility of endoscopy and barium swallow X-ray in the diagnosis of sliding hiatal hernia in morbidly obese patients: a study before and after gastric bypass

Obes Surg. 2010 Jun;20(6):702-8. doi: 10.1007/s11695-009-9971-y. Epub 2009 Sep 12.


Background: The main clinical consequence of sliding hiatal hernia (SHH) is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Endoscopy and barium swallow X-ray are commonly used to diagnose SHH. We aimed to assess the clinical utility of endoscopy and X-ray in the diagnosis of SHH in morbidly obese patients before and after gastric bypass (GBP).

Methods: Ninety-two patients underwent reflux symptoms evaluation, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, and barium swallow X-ray before and 6 months after banded GBP. The performance of endoscopy in diagnosing SHH was assessed, taking X-ray as reference. Endoscopy and X-ray were tested as predictors of SHH with GERD.

Results: SHH was more prevalent when characterized by X-ray than endoscopy either before (33% vs. 17%; P = 0.017) or after GBP (26% vs. 7%; P = 0.001). Endoscopy showed low sensitivity (<or=40%) and high specificity (>or=94%) in diagnosing SHH. Before GBP, more patients with SHH had GERD compared to patients without SHH using either X-ray (83% vs. 58%; P = 0.016) or endoscopy (94% vs. 61%; P = 0.009). After GBP, only patients with radiologic evidence of SHH showed higher prevalence of GERD compared to patients without SHH (50% vs. 26%; P = 0.037). SHH patients also reported weekly or daily vomit more often than patients without SHH (59% vs. 32%; P = 0.026).

Conclusions: In morbidly obese patients, X-ray is superior to endoscopy in diagnosing SHH either before or after banded GBP. In patients treated with this technique, the utilization of X-ray may help in the management of reflux symptoms and frequent vomit.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Barium Sulfate
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gastric Bypass / methods*
  • Gastroscopy / methods*
  • Hernia, Hiatal / diagnosis*
  • Hernia, Hiatal / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Video-Assisted Surgery


  • Barium Sulfate