Background: Randomized trials suggest that division of the short gastric vessels during Nissen fundoplication is unnecessary. Some trials report an increased risk of gas bloat symptoms following division of the short gastric vessels. In this study long-term follow-up data from the two largest randomized clinical trials of division versus no division of the short gastric vessels during laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication were combined to determine whether there were differences in late outcome. Methods: Patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease who underwent primary laparoscopic antireflux surgery and were included in two previously reported randomized trials were studied. Of 99 patients enrolled in the Swedish study and 102 in the Australian study, the short gastric vessels were divided in 104 and left intact in 97. Data sets were combined and late clinical outcomes analysed. Results: At 10-12 years' follow-up (mean 11·5 years) clinical data were obtained from 170 patients (86 with vessels divided, 84 undivided). Statistical analysis of the combined data set showed no significant differences in symptoms of heartburn or dysphagia, ability to belch or vomit, and use of antisecretory medications. Division of the short gastric vessels was associated with a higher rate of bloating symptoms (72 versus 48 per cent; P = 0·002). Conclusion: Division of the short gastric vessels is followed by a slightly poorer clinical outcome at late follow-up after Nissen fundoplication. Surgeons should avoid dividing these vessels when undertaking a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication.