Role and safety of fundoplication in esophageal disease and dysmotility syndromes
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is quite prevalent worldwide, especially in the western hemisphere. The pathophysiology of GERD is complex, involving an incompetent esophagogastric junction (EGJ) as an anti-reflux barrier, as well as other co-morbid conditions such as gastroparesis, hiatal herniation or hyper acid secretion. Esophageal dysmotility is also frequently encountered in GERD, further contributing to the disease in the form of fragmented peristalsis, ineffective esophageal motility (IEM) or the more severe aperistalsis. The latter is quite common in systemic connective tissue disorders such as scleroderma. The main stay treatment of GERD is pharmacologic with proton pump inhibitors (PPI), with surgical fundoplication offered to patients who are not responsive to medications or would like to discontinue them for medical or other reasons. The presence of esophageal dysmotility that can worsen or create dysphagia can potentially influence the choice of fundoplication (partial or complete), or whether it is even possible. Most of the existing literature demonstrates that fundoplication may be safe in the setting of ineffective or weak peristalsis, and that post-operative dysphagia cannot be reliably predicted by pre-operative manometry parameters. In cases of complete aperistalsis (scleroderma-like esophagus), partial fundoplication can be offered in select patients who exhibit prominent reflux symptoms after a comprehensive multidisciplinary evaluation. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is an alternative to fundoplication in patients with this extreme form of esophageal dysmotility, after careful consideration of the nutritional status.