Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Background: Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (SG) has become the most frequently performed bariatric procedure worldwide. De novo reflux might impact patients' quality of life, requiring lifelong proton pump inhibitor medication. It also increases the risk of esophagitis and formation of Barrett's metaplasia. Besides weight regain, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common reason for conversion to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
Methods: We performed 24-h pH metries, manometries, gastroscopies, and questionnaires focusing on reflux (GIQLI, RSI) in SG patients with a follow-up of more than 10 years who did not suffer from symptomatic reflux or hiatal hernia preoperatively.
Results: From a total of 53 patients, ten patients after adjustable gastric banding were excluded. From the remaining 43, six patients (14.0%) were converted to RYGB due to intractable reflux over a period of 130 months. Ten out of the remaining non-converted patients (n = 26) also suffered from symptomatic reflux. Gastroscopies revealed de novo hiatal hernias in 45% of the patients and Barrett's metaplasia in 15%. SG patients suffering from symptomatic reflux scored significantly higher in the RSI (p = 0.04) and significantly lower in the GIQLI (p = 0.02) questionnaire.
Conclusions: This study shows a high incidence of Barrett's esophagus and hiatal hernias at more than 10 years after SG. Its results therefore suggest maintaining pre-existing large hiatal hernia, GERD, and Barrett's esophagus as relative contraindications to SG. The limitations of this study-its small sample size as well as the fact that it was based on early experience with SG-make drawing any general conclusions about this procedure difficult.