OBJECTIVES: To assess gastroesophageal reflux (GER), esophageal motility, and gastric emptying in children before and after laparoscopic fundoplication and to identify functional measures associated with postoperative dysphagia.
STUDY DESIGN: Combined impedance-manometry, 24-hour pH-impedance, and gastric-emptying breath tests were performed before and after laparoscopic anterior partial fundoplication. Impedance-manometry studies were analyzed with the use of conventional analysis methods and a novel automated impedance manometry (AIM) analysis.
RESULTS: Children with therapy resistent GER disease (n = 25) were assessed before fundoplication, of whom 10 (median age 6.4 years; range, 1.1-17.1 years; 7 male; 4 with neurologic impairment) underwent fundoplication. GER episodes reduced from 97 (69-172) to 66 (18-87)/24 hours (P = .012). Peristaltic contractions were unaltered. Complete lower esophageal sphincter relaxations decreased after fundoplication (92% [76%-100%] vs 65% [29%-91%], P = .038). Four (40%) patients developed postoperative dysphagia, which was transient in 2. In those patients, preoperative gastric emptying was delayed compared with patients without postoperative dysphagia, 96 minutes (71-104 minutes) versus 48 minutes (26-68 minutes), P = .032, and AIM analysis derived dysphagia risk index was greater (56 [15-105] vs 2 [2-6] P = .016). Two patients underwent a repeat fundoplication.
DISCUSSION: Fundoplication in children reduced GER without altering esophageal motility. Four patients who developed dysphagia demonstrated slower gastric emptying and greater dysplasia risk index preoperatively. AIM analysis may allow detection of subtle esophageal abnormalities potentially leading to postoperative dysphagia.