Barrett's esophagus (BE) is the only known precursor of adenocarcinoma occuring in the lower third of the esophagus. According to statistics, severity and elapsed time of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are major pathogenetic factors in the development of Barrett's esophagus.
In a retrospective study between 2001 and 2008, we compared the preoperative results (signs and sympthoms, 24 hour pH manometry, esophageal manometry, Bilitec) and treatment efficacy of 176 GERD patients and 78 BE patients, who have undergone laparoscopic Nissen procedure for reflux disease.
The two groups of patients had similar demographic features, and elapsed time of reflux sympthoms were also equal. Both groups were admitted for surgery after a median time of 1.5 years (19.87 vs. 19.20 months) of ineffective medical (proton pump inhibitors) treatment. Preoperative functional tests showed a more severe presence of acid reflux in the BE group (DeMeester score 18.9 versus 41.9, p < 0.001). On the other hand, mano-metry - despite confirming lower esophageal sphincter (LES) damage - did not show difference between the two groups (12.10 vs. 12.57 mmHg, p = 0.892). We did not experience any mortality cases with laparoscopic antireflux procedures, although in two cases we had to convert during the operation (1 due to extensive adhesions, and 1 due to injury to the spleen). 3 months after the procedure - according to Visick score - both groups experienced a significant decrease, or lapse in reflux complaints (group I: 73%, group II: 81% of patients), LES functions improved (17.58 vs.18.70 mmHg), and the frequency and exposition of acid reflux decreased (DeMeester score 7.73 vs. 12.72).
The severity of abnormal acid reflux occuring parallel with the incompetent function of the damaged LES triggers not only inflammation in the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ), but also metaplastic process, and the development of Barrett's esophagus. Laparoscopic Nissen procedure for reflux disease can further improve outcome among patients with GERD not responding to conservative therapy.