Background: Laparoscopic surgery for gastrointestinal reflux disease was introduced in 1991. Early safety, efficacy, and 5-10-year durability have been amply documented, but long-term patient outcomes have been criticized. This study presents 20-year outcomes after laparoscopic fundoplication (LF) in a consecutive patient cohort.
Methods: Patients who underwent primary LF procedures for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) were identified from a prospectively collected IRB-approved database (1991-1995). A phone symptom questionnaire was administered using a 5-point validated GERD scoring system (heartburn, regurgitation, and dysphagia). Symptomatic success was defined by a lack of surgical re-intervention and a low symptom score.
Results: One-hundred and ninety-three patients were identified during the time period. Fifty-one patients completed the survey (100 lost to follow-up, 40 deceased, 2 declined to answer). Respondents had a median follow-up of 19.7 years. Overall, 38/51 (74.5%) of patients reported complete control of heartburn and regurgitation. Ten patients reported only occasional heartburn. Eight of fifty-one (16%) reported daily dysphagia, and 22/51 (43%) of respondents were using proton pump inhibitors at the time of telephone interview. Nine of fifty-one (18%) underwent revision of the original surgery which did not negatively impact the satisfaction rating, with 8/9 (89%) of these patients reporting the highest satisfaction rating. Overall, 46/51 (90%) were satisfied with their choice of surgery.
Conclusion: Long-term results from the early experience with LF are excellent with 94% of patients reporting only occasional or fewer reflux symptoms at 20-year follow-up. However, 18% required surgical revision surgery to maintain their results. There is a relatively high rate of daily dysphagia but 90% of patients are happy to have had LF.