Patients with ineffective esophageal motility benefit from laparoscopic antireflux surgery

Surg Endosc. 2021 Aug;35(8):4459-4468. doi: 10.1007/s00464-020-07951-4. Epub 2020 Sep 21.


Background: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common chronic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, affecting more than 50% of Americans. The development of GERD may be associated with ineffective esophageal motility (IEM). The impact of esophageal motility on outcomes post laparoscopic antireflux surgery (LARS), including quality of life (QOL), remains to be defined. The purpose of this study is to analyze and compare QOL outcomes following LARS among patients with and without ineffective esophageal motility (IEM).

Methods: This is a single-institution, retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database of patients who underwent LARS, from January 2012 to July 2019, for treatment of GERD at our institution. Patients undergoing revisional surgery were excluded. Patients with normal peristalsis (non-IEM) were distinguished from those with IEM, defined using the Chicago classification, on manometric studies. Four validated QOL surveys were used to assess outcomes: Reflux Symptom Index (RSI), Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Health-Related QOL (GERD-HRQL), Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Health-Related QOL (LPR-HRQL), and Swallowing Disorders (SWAL) survey.

Results: 203 patients with complete manometric data were identified (75.4% female) and divided into two groups, IEM (n = 44) and non-IEM (n = 159). IEM and Non-IEM groups were parallel in age (58.1 ± 15.3 vs. 62.2 ± 12 years, p = 0.062), body mass index (27.4 ± 4.1 vs. 28.2 ± 4.9 kg/m2, p = 0.288), distribution of comorbid disease, sex, and ASA scores. The groups differed in manometry findings and Johnson-DeMeester score (IEM: 38.6 vs. Non-IEM: 24.0, p = 0.023). Patients in both groups underwent similar rates of Nissen fundoplication (IEM: 84.1% vs. Non-IEM: 93.7%, p = 0.061) with greater improvements in dysphagia (IEM: 27.4% vs. 44.2%) in Non-IEM group but comparable benefit in reflux reduction (IEM: 80.6% vs. 72.4%) in both groups at follow-up. There were no differences in postoperative outcomes. Satisfaction rates with LARS were similar between groups (IEM: 80% vs. non-IEM: 77.9%, p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Patients with ineffective esophageal motility derive significant benefits in perioperative and QOL outcomes after LARS. Nevertheless, as anticipated, their baseline dysmotility may reduce the degree of improvement in dysphagia rates post-surgery compared to patients with normal motility. Furthermore, the presence of preoperative IEM should not be a contraindication for complete fundoplication. Key to optimal outcomes after LARS is careful patient selection based on objective perioperative data, including manometry evaluation, with the purpose of tailoring surgery to provide effective reflux control and improved esophageal clearance.

Keywords: Dysmotility; Dysphagia; Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); Ineffective esophageal motility (IEM); Laparoscopic antireflux surgery (LARS); Quality of life outcome (QOL).

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fundoplication
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Laryngopharyngeal Reflux*
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome