Objective: The best treatment approach for patients with documented Barrett's esophagus remains controversial. There is currently no well designed prospective study examining the effect of successful antireflux surgery on Barrett's esophagus.
Methods: Fourteen patients with histologically proven Barrett's esophagus underwent standard antireflux surgery followed by careful endoscopic, histological, and symptomatic follow-up beginning at 2-4 wk after surgery. Pre- and postoperative symptoms, patient functional assessment scores, lower esophageal sphincter pressure, and 24-h pH studies were compared, in addition to monitoring patients for evidence of squamous re-epithelialization and dysplasia.
Results: Patients demonstrated statistically significant improvement in symptoms, functional assessment scores, lower esophageal sphincter pressure, and 24-h pH assessments after antireflux surgery. Two patients had complete disappearance of short segments (2 and 3 cm) of Barrett's esophagus. Ten additional patients demonstrated evidence of squamous re-epithelialization, although biopsies often showed mixed components of squamous and columnar epithelium. No patients showed progression of dysplastic change, and four patients demonstrated the disappearance of low grade dysplasia throughout the period of the study.
Conclusion: Successful antireflux surgery can produce at least partial squamous re-epithelialization in Barrett's metaplasia and stabilization or apparent improvement in dysplasia in some patients without the need for long term medication. Continued long term endoscopic and histologic follow-up is still required in all patients with Barrett's esophagus after antireflux surgery.