Routine Esophagograms After Hiatus Hernia Repair Minimizes Reoperative Morbidity: A Multicenter Comparative Cohort Study

David S. Liu, Melissa Y. Wee, James Grantham, Bee S. Ong, Stephanie G. Ng, Minh-Son To, Xuanyu Zhou, Tanya Irvine, Tim Bright, Sarah K. Thompson, Jonathan Shenfine, Lachlan Dandie, David I. Watson

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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OBJECTIVE: Determine the utility of routine esophagograms after hiatus hernia repair and its impact on patient outcomes.

BACKGROUND: Hiatus hernia repairs are common. Early complications such asre-herniation, esophageal obstruction and perforation, although infrequent, incur significant morbidity. Whether routine postoperative esophagograms enable early recognition of these complications, expedite surgical management, reduce reoperative morbidity, and improve functional outcomes are unclear.

METHODS: Analysis of a prospectively-maintained database of hiatus hernia repairs in 14 hospitals, and review of esophagograms in this cohort.

Results: A total of 1829 hiatus hernias were repaired. Of these, 1571 (85.9%) patients underwent a postoperative esophagogram. Overall, 1 in 48 esophagograms resulted in an early (<14 days) reoperation, which was undertaken in 44 (2.4%) patients. Compared to those without an esophagogram, patients who received this test before reoperation (n = 37) had a shorter time to diagnosis (2.4 vs 3.9 days, P = 0.041) and treatment (2.4 vs 4.3 days, P = 0.037) of their complications. This was associated with lower rates of open surgery (10.8% vs 42.9%, P = 0.034), gastric resection (0.0% vs 28.6%, P = 0.022), postoperative morbidity (13.5% vs 85.7%, P < 0.001), unplanned intensive care admission (16.2% vs 85.7%, P < 0.001), and decreased length-of-stay (7.3 vs 18.3 days, P = 0.009). Furthermore, we identified less intraoperative and postoperative complications, and superior functional outcomes at 1-year follow-up in patients who underwent early reoperations for an esophagogram-detected asymptomatic re-herniation than those who needed surgery for late symptomatic recurrences.

CONCLUSIONS: Postoperative esophagograms decrease the morbidity associated with early and late reoperations, and should be considered for routine use after hiatus hernia surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e770-e776
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Issue number6
Early online date12 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • esophagogram
  • hiatus hernia
  • contrast swallow
  • fundoplication


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