Patients with gastroesophageal reflux and Barrett esophagus may represent a group of patients with poorer postoperative outcomes. It has been suggested that such patients should undergo open rather than laparoscopic antireflux surgery.
The laparoscopic approach to antireflux surgery is appropriate treatment for patients with Barrett esophagus who have symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease.
The outcome of 757 patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease from January 1, 1992, through December 31, 1998, was prospectively examined. Barrett esophagus was present in 81 (10.7%) of these patients (58 men and 23 women). The outcome for this group of patients was compared with that of patients undergoing surgery who did not have Barrett esophagus.
The types of operation performed were similar for the 2 patient groups. The mean±SD length of columnar mucosa was 47.4±43.6 mm. The average±SD operation time was 79.0±33.4 minutes. Conversion to open surgery occurred in 6 patients. Postoperative outcomes were as follows. Esophageal manometry and 24-hour pH studies before and after laparoscopic fundoplication demonstrated a significant increase in lower esophageal sphincter resting and residual relaxation pressures and a significant decrease in distal esophageal acid exposure. Four patients have developed high-grade dysplasia or invasive cancer within 4 years of their antireflux surgery, and all of these have subsequently undergone esophageal resection.
The outcome of laparoscopic antireflux surgery is similar for patients with Barrett esophagus compared with other patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. This suggests that laparoscopic surgery is appropriate treatment for this patient group.