Gas-related symptoms after antireflux surgery

Kessing BF, Broeders JA, Vinke N, Schijven MP, Hazebroek EJ, Broeders IA, Bredenoord AJ, Smout AJ.

Gas-related symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, and impaired ability to belch are frequent after antireflux surgery, but it is not known how these symptoms affect patient satisfaction with the procedure or what determines the severity of these complaints. We aimed to assess the impact of gas-related symptoms on patient-perceived success of surgery and to determine whether the severity of gas-related complaints after antireflux surgery is associated with objectively measured abnormalities.

Fifty-two patients were studied at a median of 27 months after antireflux surgery. The influence of gas-related symptoms on their quality of life and satisfaction with surgical outcome was assessed. The rates of air swallows and gastric and supragastric belches before and after surgery were assessed using impedance measurements.

Bloating and flatulence were associated with a decreased quality of life and less satisfaction with surgical outcome. Notably, 9 % of the patients would not opt for surgery again due to gas-related symptoms. Antireflux surgery decreased the total number of gastric belches but did not affect the number of air swallows. The severity of gas-related symptoms was not associated with an increased number of preoperative air swallows and/or belches or a larger postoperative decrease in the number of gastric belches.

Gas-related symptoms are associated with less satisfaction with surgical outcome. The severity of gas-related symptoms is not determined by the number of preoperative air swallows or a more severe impairment of the ability to belch after surgery. Preoperative predictors of postoperative gas-related symptoms therefore could not be identified.