Physiologic mechanism and preoperative prediction of new-onset dysphagia after laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication

Dennis Blom, Jeffrey H. Peters, Tom R. DeMeester, Peter F. Crookes, Jeffrey A. Hagan, Steven R. DeMeester, Cedric Bremner, R. Bell, C. Deveney, V. Fink, M. Murr, C. D. Smith

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51 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to determine whether preoperative physiologic factors can account for and be used to predict the development of postoperative dysphagia after laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. One hundred sixty-three patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease underwent laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication with a median follow-up of 14 months (range 6 to 81 months). Preoperative dysphagia was present in 37% (60 of 163) and was relieved in all but five patients (92%). Female sex (P = 0.01) and the presence of a stricture (P = 0.02) were the only preoperative variables associated with the presence of preoperative dysphagia. Eight percent (8 of 103) of patients without preoperative dysphagia developed new-onset dysphagia, and of these 63% (5 of 8) had a normal lower esophageal sphincter (LES) (pressure >6 mm Hg; length >2 cm; abdominal length >1 cm). New-onset dysphagia was significantly more common in patients with a normal LES (22% [5 of 23] vs. 4% [3 of 80], P = 001). Patients with a normal LES had almost a sixfold increase in the risk of developing dysphagia as those with an abnormal LES (relative risk = 5.8). Only a preoperative normal LES (P = 0.02) or mean LES pressures (P = 0.04) were positively associated with the development of postoperative dysphagia. The severity of this dysphagia also showed a strong positive trend of increasing with mean preoperative LES pressures (P = 0.07). Finally, preoperative LES pressure significantly correlated with postoperative LES pressure (r = 0.48, P = 0.01) and with mean residual LES (nadir) pressure (r = 0.33, P = 0.05) offering insight into the mechanism of this dysphagia. In conclusion, preoperative LES parameters play a role in the development of dysphagia after laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. Patients with a normal LES or high mean LES pressures are at increased risk for developing this complication and should be informed of this before laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Dysphagia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication
  • Outcomes
  • Postoperative complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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