Objective: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the long-term symptomatic and endoscopic outcome in gastroesophageal reflux disease with erosive esophagitis, comparing conservative with operative management.
Methods: The study comprised 105 of 120 patients consecutively referred for severe reflux symptoms to the gastroenterologic outpatient department of a teaching hospital, where erosive esophagitis was confirmed endoscopically. If conservative management (modified lifestyle and medication) failed to relieve symptoms and heal the esophagitis, antireflux surgery (Nissen fundoplication) was undertaken. Follow-up (median, 10.9 years) evaluation of all patients included comprehensive, standardized interviews; self-scoring of symptoms at the time of referral and currently; and observations at endoscopy.
Results: Nissen fundoplication was performed on 37 of the 105 patients. At follow-up of these 37 patients, (31) 84% had no or only occasional mild heartburn, (33) 89% were free from erosive esophagitis, and (2) 5% were taking H2 antagonists or omeprazole. The corresponding figures in the 68 patients with only conservative treatment were (36) 53%, (31) 45%, and (14) 21%. The mean change in symptom score between referral time and follow-up was 5.7 in the surgically treated group and 1.7 in the nonsurgically treated group. Fifteen new cases of Barrett's metaplasia were found at follow-up.
Conclusions: In gastroesophageal reflux disease with erosive esophagitis, surgical treatment gave results subjectively and objectively superior to those from conservative management.