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Ann Thorac Surg. 1994 Jul;58(1):66-72; discussion 72-3.

Antireflux operations in patients with scleroderma.

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Department of Surgery, Université de Montréal, Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Fourteen patients with scleroderma underwent antireflux operations (10 short Nissen, 2 Collis-Nissen, 1 Collis-Belsey, and 1 vagotomy and antrectomy with Roux-en-Y). Esophageal function was assessed preoperatively and postoperatively with a follow-up range of 8 to 181 months (mean, 65 months). Reflux symptoms were relieved in 10 of the 14 patients (p < 0.01), as shown by a decrease in their 24-hour acid exposure of from 15% to 7.5% (p < 0.05). However, the lower esophageal sphincter pressure gradient created by the operations did not increase significantly (3.7 +/- 3.4 mm Hg to 5.5 +/- 3.5 mm Hg). The esophageal acid exposure decreased sufficiently to promote some alleviation of the esophagitis. Radiologic signs of stenosis regressed in 6 of 7 patients. Postoperative endoscopic assessment revealed complete or partial healing of erosions seen preoperatively in 6 of the 7 patients so studied, and healing of all ulcers in 3 patients. Twelve patients continued to have columnar metaplasia. Manometric studies disclosed no significant changes in propulsion and contractility. Distal esophageal resting pressures rose significantly from 6.2 to 9.4 mm Hg (p < 0.05 mm Hg), suggestive of stasis. Radionuclide transit studies, however, showed no significant decrease in the esophageal emptying capacity after operation. It is concluded that conventional antireflux operations in patients with scleroderma can palliate reflux damage without jeopardizing esophageal function.

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