Tailored or routine addition of an antireflux fundoplication in laparoscopic large hiatal hernia repair: a comparative cohort study

Furnée EJ, Draaisma WA, Gooszen HG, Hazebroek EJ, Smout AJ, Broeders IA.

BACKGROUND
There is controversy about the tailored or routine addition of an antireflux fundoplication in large hiatal hernia (type II-IV) repair. We investigated the strategy of selective addition of a fundoplication in patients with a large hiatal hernia and concomitant gastroesophageal reflux disease.

METHODS
Between 2002 and 2008, 60 patients with a large hiatal hernia were evaluated preoperatively and 12 months after surgery by reflux-related symptoms, upper endoscopy, and esophageal 24-h pH monitoring. In patients with preoperatively documented gastroesophageal reflux disease, an antireflux fundoplication was added during hiatal hernia repair.

RESULTS
An antireflux procedure was added in 35 patients and 25 patients underwent hiatal hernia repair only. Preoperative symptoms were improved or resolved in 31 patients (88.6%) in the group who had fundoplication and in 20 patients (87.0%) in the group who did not have fundoplication. In patients with fundoplication, esophagitis was present in 6 patients (22.2%) after surgery and abnormal esophageal acid exposure persisted in 11 (39.3%). Seven patients (38.9%) with hernia repair only developed abnormal esophageal acid exposure, and esophagitis was postoperatively generated in five (27.8%). In neither group did patients have new onset of daily heartburn or dysphagia.

CONCLUSIONS
In patients with a large hiatal hernia associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, addition of a fundoplication during hernia repair yields acceptable reduction of symptoms and does not generate symptomatic side effects. Objective control of reflux, however, is only moderate. Omission of an antireflux procedure in the absence of gastroesophageal reflux disease induced esophagitis in 28% and abnormal esophageal acid exposure in 39% of patients. Therefore, routine addition of an antireflux fundoplication should be recommended.