Illness behavior influences the outcome of laparoscopic antireflux surgery

David Watson, A Chan, Jennifer Myers, Glyn Jamieson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: While gastroesophageal reflux is amenable to medical and surgical treatment, the severity of pathophysiologic changes of the disease correlates poorly with the symptomatology. Similarly, the overall successful outcome of surgical therapy can be lessened by the poor outcome in a small number of patients despite the technical success of the operation. We conducted a study to determine the influence of illness behavior on the outcome and efficacy of laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication.

STUDY DESIGN: From a larger group of patients undergoing a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, 77 patients (57 male, 20 female) completed an illness behavior questionnaire before and after surgery. This previously validated questionnaire assessed 10 scales of illness behavior. The results were compared with visual analog scales of outcome for overall satisfaction, heartburn, and solid food dysphagia, which were elicited independently from a standardized clinical follow-up questionnaire.

RESULTS: Patients completed the questionnaire on average 2 months before and 25 months after surgery. High preoperative and postoperative scores for the 'affective' and 'hypochondriacal' scales were associated with poorer satisfaction with the surgical outcome. Although successful relief of reflux symptoms was unrelated to any preoperative illness behavior scale, postoperative scores for 'disease conviction' and 'disease affirmation' were predictors of further symptomatic heartburn in a small group of patients. Dysphagia did not correlate with illness behavior. When preoperative and postoperative scores were compared, no change in illness behavior was demonstrated, with the exception of lower scores for disease conviction and disease affirmation.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that while patient perception of disease is improved by laparoscopic fundoplication, patient satisfaction with the surgical outcome is in part determined by preoperative illness behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-48
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of The American College of Surgeons
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


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