Gastroesophageal reflux after sleeve gastrectomy. Fact or fiction?



      One of the most controversial issues surrounding laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease following surgery. The aim of the study was to evaluate the occurrence of gastroesophageal reflux disease after laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and to analyze patients’ weight loss, comorbidities, and quality of life after surgery.


      The clinical records of 52 patients submitted to laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy between January and November 2018, with 3 years of follow-up, were retrospectively reviewed. At the end of the follow-up period, the patients underwent screening endoscopy, and those with postoperative esophagitis were submitted to endoscopic biopsies and pH-impedance monitoring (MII-pH). The presence of gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms was assessed using the modified clinical DeMesteer score questionnaire. The Bariatric Analysis and Reporting Outcome System score and 36-Item Short Form Health Survey were used to assess the postoperative quality of life.


      In the preoperative work-up, only 7.6% of patients had signs of esophagitis at esophagogastroduodenoscopy, whilst at 3-year follow-up, 50% of them had endoscopic signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Twenty-one out of 26 patients with signs of esophagitis agreed to undergo MII-pH. The median DeMesteer score questionnaire was 4.5, with only 4 patients (19%) exhibiting a value greater than the pH cut-off value (14.72), indicative of gastroesophageal reflux disease. MII-pH data analysis showed the presence of gastroesophageal reflux disease in 5 patients. An excellent outcome on the Bariatric Analysis and Reporting Outcome System score was reported in 50% of patients, and all 8 domains from the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey improved significantly.


      This study showed an improvement in these patients’ quality of life and the limited refluxogenic nature of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy at 3-year follow-up when diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease is based on the Lyon consensus.
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