The influence of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms on patient satisfaction after sleeve gastrectomy

Surgery. 2019 Nov;166(5):873-878. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2019.07.003. Epub 2019 Aug 23.


Background: Sleeve gastrectomy has become the most common procedure performed for weight loss. But emerging data indicate that this procedure can result in lifestyle-limiting gastroesophageal reflux disease. The influence of these gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms on patient satisfaction with the procedure has not been explored.

Methods: Using a statewide, bariatric-specific data registry, we studied 6,608 patients who underwent laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy from 2013 to 2017. We used the Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Health-Related Quality of Life questionnaire, which is 10 questions, each ranging from 0 (no symptoms) to 5 (severe symptoms). To assess the impact of sleeve gastrectomy on patient satisfaction, we calculated the change in this score at baseline versus 1 year after the procedure. We stratified the change in the gastroesophageal reflux disease score into 5 even-sized groups (quintiles). We then examined the relationship between change in the gastroesophageal reflux disease score and patient satisfaction at 1 year. We used generalized linear mixed models to assess the variation in patient satisfaction explained by the change in the gastroesophageal reflux disease score, excess body weight loss at 1 year, and other patient outcomes (serious complications, readmission, and reoperations). We controlled for patient factors (age, sex, race, and comorbidities) and year of sleeve gastrectomy.

Results: The average change in the gastroesophageal reflux disease score was 1.62 (range: -48 to 48); however, the change in the gastroesophageal reflux disease score varied across quintiles with a -7.3-point (range: -48 to -3) worsening in the bottom quintile versus a 2.6-point (range: 7 to 48) improvement in the top quintile. Overall, 77.7% of patients were satisfied, but the proportion of patients satisfied was highly dependent on whether their reflux symptoms improved or worsened. Only 48.9% in the bottom quintile were satisfied, compared with 78.1% in the top quintile (<.0001). In the multivariate model, changes in patient-reported gastroesophageal reflux disease score were the most predictive of patient satisfaction, explaining 10.1% of the variation in 1 year satisfaction. Among patients in the bottom quintile, reflux symptoms explained 30.2% of variation compared with 2.3% in quintiles with little change or improvement in reflux. Moreover, excess body weight loss explained only 2% of variation in satisfaction and <1% was explained by patient outcomes (serious complications, readmissions, reoperations, or surgical complications).

Conclusion: In this statewide study of sleeve gastrectomy, we demonstrated that gastroesophageal reflux symptoms are an important determinant of 1 year satisfaction, particularly among patients whose symptoms worsened the most.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / psychology
  • Gastroplasty / adverse effects*
  • Gastroplasty / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome