Pathophysiological Mechanisms of Gastro-esophageal Reflux After Sleeve Gastrectomy

Yazmin Johari, Gillian Lim, Anagi Wickremasinghe, Helen Yue, Jarrel Seah, Geraldine Ooi, Julie Playfair, Cheryl Laurie, Paul Beech, Kenneth Yap, Geoff Hebbard, Wendy Brown, Paul Burton

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8 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the mechanisms associated with reflux events after sleeve gastrectomy (SG). SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD) post-SG is a critical issue due to symptom severity, impact on quality of life, requirement for reoperation, and potential for Barrett esophagus. The pathophysiology is incompletely delineated. METHODS: Post-SG patients, stratified into asymptomatic and symptomatic, underwent protocolized nuclear scintigraphy (n = 83), 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring, and stationary manometry (n = 143) to characterize reflux patterns. Ten patients underwent fasting and postprandial concurrent manometry and pH for detailed analysis of reflux events. RESULTS: Baseline demographics between cohorts were similar: Age 47.2 ± 11.6 versus 44.1 ± 11.3 years ( P = 0.121); females 73.2% versus 90.8% ( P = 0.005); excess weight loss 53.8 ± 28.1% versus 57.4 ± 25.5% ( P = 0.422), follow-up duration 12.3 versus 7.4 months ( P = 0.503). Nuclear scintigraphy delineated bolus-induced deglutitive reflux events (29.6% vs 62.5%, P = 0.005) and postprandial reflux events [4 (IQR2) versus 4 (IQR 3) events, P = 0.356]. Total acid exposure was significantly elevated in the symptomatic population (7.7% vs 3.6%, P < 0.001), especially fasting acid exposure (6.0% vs 1.3%, P < 0.001). pH/manometry analysis demonstrated acute elevations of the gastro-esophageal pressure gradient (>10 mm Hg) underpinned most reflux events. Swallow-induced intragastric hyper-pressur-ization was associated with individual reflux events in most patients (90% in fasting state and 40% postprandial). CONCLUSIONS: We found reflux to be strongly associated with SG and identified 3 unique categories. Bolus-induced deglutitive and postprandial reflux occurred in most patients. Elevated fasting esophageal acid exposure mediated symptoms. Frequent, significant elevation in the gastro-esophageal pressure gradient was the mechanism of reflux and seemed to relate to the noncompliant proximal stomach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e407-e416
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

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