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Am J Gastroenterol. 2000 Feb;95(2):408-14.

Predictability of dysphagia after laparoscopic nissen fundoplication.

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Department of General Surgery, A.รถ. Krankenhaus, Zell am See, Austria.



Dysphagia is the most common complication of antireflux surgery. Temporary dysphagia occurs in addition to persistent dysphagia because of technical or physiological problems. Temporary dysphagia may be due to the patient's personal perception or faulty eating habits. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of the patient's personality as it relates to temporary dysphagia and individual impairment.


Several studies have used the construct of personality known as "health locus of control" to predict health-related behavior and convalescence after medical or surgical treatments. This study investigates the predictability of the subjective degree of dysphagia and its perceived degree of impairment in relation to the health locus of control after laparoscopic so-called "floppy" Nissen fundoplication in 90 patients. Several questionnaires and single-item questions were given to the patients preoperatively, and 1 wk, 6 wk, and 3 months after surgery. The answers to the questions provided the data for this study.


Preoperatively, 92% of the patients had no dysphagia and 8% had a mild subjective degree of dysphagia. Temporary postoperative dysphagia was found in approximately 50% of the patients 1 wk after surgery. The intensity of the dysphagia ranged among mild (18%), moderate (15%), and severe (16%). Three months postoperatively about 80% had no dysphagia and only 2% severe dysphagia. Correlations between the construct of personality and the intensity of postoperative dysphagia and its impairment revealed a significant relationship at all times. Patients with high expectations for their own health-related abilities (internal control) had less dysphagia (r = -0.78 after 1 wk [p<0.001], r = -0.71 after 6 wk [p<0.001], and r = -0.64 after 3 months [p<0.001]), compared with patients who believed that their convalescence depended more on luck, chance, or fate (external control) (r = 0.67 after 1 wk [p<0.01], r = 0.72 after 6 wk [p<0.001], and r = 0.63 after 3 months [p<0.01]). These results are highly significant. The correlation between health locus of control the degree of a subjective impairment from perceived dysphagia showed similar results (p<0.01).


The subjective degree of dysphagia and the perceived impairment as a result of laparoscopic antireflux surgery can be predicted according to the personality of the patient. Those patients with low expectations for their own abilities can be identified before surgery, thereby allowing adaptation techniques to be applied that could improve the results and well-being of patients after antireflux surgery.

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