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Analysis and surgical treatment of persistent dysphagia after Nissen fundoplication

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SummaryBackground

After Nissen fundoplication, troublesome dysphagia develops in 5–10 per cent of patients. The mechanism of dysphagia has not been fully resolved, in spite of a number of studies focusing on oesophageal motility and lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) dynamics. Tightness and length of the wrap have had considerable attention, without giving a fully satisfactory explanation of the pathophysiological mechanism.Methods

Eighteen patients with persistent dysphagia after Nissen fundoplication needing reoperation were studied. Eighteen patients, matched for age and sex, without dysphagia after Nissen fundoplication were used as controls. Reoperation consisted of conversion of a 360° into a 270° wrap. Barium swallow, endoscopy, oesophageal manometry and 24-h pH monitoring were performed before and after (re)operation.Results

Peristaltic amplitude, velocity and duration of contraction were not significantly influenced by operation. In 16 of 18 patients with dysphagia, LOS relaxation was incomplete and the residual relaxation pressure was significantly higher than that in the group without dysphagia (P < 0·01). No correlation was found between LOS pressure and peristaltic amplitude, nor between LOS pressure and ramp pressure in the distal oesophagus. After reoperation, basal LOS pressure decreased significantly (P < 0·01) and LOS relaxation was complete in all but three patients; residual relaxation pressure decreased (P < 0·01) and was significantly lower than that after uncomplicated Nissen fundoplication. In the latter group, LOS pressure, residual relaxation pressure and ramp pressure increased significantly after operation (P < 0·01).Conclusion

A return to complete LOS relaxation and a decrease in residual relaxation pressure play an important role in resolving dysphagia.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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