Background: Anti-reflux surgery in the setting of preoperative esophageal dysmotility is contentious due to fear of persistent long-term dysphagia, particularly in individuals with an aperistaltic esophagus (absent esophageal contractility). This study determined the long-term postoperative outcomes following fundoplication in patients with absent esophageal contractility versus normal motility. Methods: A prospective database was used to identify all (40) patients with absent esophageal contractility who subsequently underwent fundoplication (36 anterior partial, 4 Nissen). Cases were propensity matched based on age, gender, and fundoplication type with another 708 patients who all had normal motility. Groups were assessed using prospective symptom assessment questionnaires to assess heartburn, dysphagia for solids and liquids, regurgitation, and satisfaction with surgery, and outcomes were compared. Results: Across follow-up to 10 years, no significant differences were found between the two groups for any of the assessed postoperative symptoms. Multivariate analysis found that patients with absent contractility had worse preoperative dysphagia (adjusted mean difference 1.09, p = 0.048), but postoperatively there were no significant differences in dysphagia scores at 5- and 10-year follow-up. No differences in overall patient satisfaction were identified across the follow-up period. Conclusion: Laparoscopic partial fundoplication in patients with absent esophageal contractility achieves acceptable symptom control without significantly worse dysphagia compared with patients with normal contractility. Patients with absent contractility should still be considered for surgery.
- Absent contractility