Diagnostic Criteria for Gastro-esophageal Reflux Following Sleeve Gastrectomy

Gillian Lim, Yazmin Johari, Geraldine Ooi, Julie Playfair, Cheryl Laurie, Geoffrey Hebbard, Wendy Brown, Paul Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) post-sleeve gastrectomy (SG) is a controversial issue and diagnostic dilemma. Strong heterogeneity exists in the assessment of reflux post-SG, and better diagnostic tools are needed to characterize symptomatic reflux. We aimed to determine the discriminant factors of symptomatic reflux and establish diagnostic thresholds for GERD following SG. Materials and Methods: Patients post-SG were categorized into asymptomatic and symptomatic cohorts and completed validated symptom questionnaires. All patients underwent stationary esophageal manometry and 24-h ambulatory pH monitoring. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine the strongest discriminant factors for GERD. Results: Baseline characteristics of the asymptomatic cohort (n = 48) and symptomatic cohort (n = 76) were comparable. The median post-operative duration was 7.3 (14.1) vs 7.5 (10.7) months (p = 0.825). The symptomatic cohort was more female predominant (90.8 vs 72.9%, p = 0.008). Reflux scores were significantly higher in the symptomatic group (36.0 vs 10.5, p = 0.003). Stationary manometry parameters were similar, including hiatus hernia prevalence and impaired esophageal motility. The symptomatic cohort had significantly higher total acid exposure, especially while supine (11.3% vs 0.6%, p < 0.001). Univariate and multivariate regressions delineated reflux score and supine acid exposure as discriminant factors for symptomatic reflux. The thresholds for distinguishing symptomatic reflux are as follows: reflux score of 11.5 (sensitivity 84.0%, specificity 68.2%) and supine acid exposure of 2.65% (sensitivity 67.1%, specificity 70.8%). Conclusion: A reflux score of 11.5 or more or supine acid exposure of 2.65% or more should be considered diagnostic in defining symptomatic reflux following SG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1464–1474
Number of pages11
JournalObesity Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • 24-h ambulatory pH monitoring
  • Diagnostic thresholds
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux disease
  • High-resolution esophageal manometry
  • Sleeve gastrectomy

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