Symptoms, endoscopic findings and reflux monitoring results in candidates for bariatric surgery

Dig Liver Dis. 2017 Jul;49(7):750-756. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2017.01.165. Epub 2017 Feb 3.


Background: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common in patients with obesity. Diagnosing GERD is important as bariatric operations have different influence on GERD. We assessed reflux symptoms and objective findings prior to surgery.

Methods: Work-up included esophageal symptoms quantification by VAS-scores, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) and 24-h impedance-pH (imp-pH) monitoring off PPI therapy. Imp-pH was classified as abnormal if either %time pH<4 was abnormal, total number of reflux episodes was elevated or symptom index (SI) was positive.

Results: Among 100 consecutive patients (68F, age 40±11years, BMI 44.9±6.9kg/m2) 54% reported heartburn and/or regurgitation, 71% had objective evidence of GERD (38% endoscopic lesions and 33% only abnormal imp-pH results). Imp-pH was superior to EGD in identifying GERD (sensitivity 85% vs. 54%, p<0.01). Symptomatic and asymptomatic patients had similar prevalence of esophageal lesions (37% vs. 39%) and abnormal imp-pH findings (68% vs. 50%). Sixty nine percent of patients with abnormal %time pH<4 had a normal number of reflux episodes.

Conclusion: Half of patients with obesity reported typical GERD symptoms and >70% had evidence of GERD. Poor acid clearance was the main mechanisms. Since typical reflux symptoms don't predict objective findings, endoscopy and reflux monitoring should be part of the surgery work-up especially before restrictive procedures.

Keywords: 24h-impedance-pH metry; Bariatric surgery; Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); Obesity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Barrett Esophagus / complications
  • Barrett Esophagus / diagnosis*
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods*
  • Esophageal pH Monitoring / methods*
  • Esophagitis / complications
  • Esophagitis / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Period
  • Symptom Assessment