Gastric Bypass Relieves GERD Syndromes in Most Obese Patients

New research from Brazil shows that gastric bypass surgery effectively alleviates gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in most obese patients and can provide substantial improvement in heartburn symptoms in as little as 6 months.

Dr. Fernando Fornari of the University of Passo Fundo followed 86 morbidly obese patients who were evaluated for GERD symptoms before and 6 months after their gastric bypass operations. Dr. Fornari and his colleagues found that the GERD patients had an improved quality of life and used fewer proton pump inhibitors after surgery.

The study showed that of the 49 patients who had typical reflux syndrome before surgery, 39 had their symptoms resolved within 6 months after surgery. Of the 39 patients without preoperative reflux syndrome, only 4 developed new symptoms after surgery. Researchers also said that the esophageal mucosa was improved in 27 patients and that the number of patients with extra-esophageal injury was reduced from 16 to 1.

Fornari also compared the effectiveness of gastric bypass to gastric fundoplication, the conventional surgical treatment for GERD for the past 50 years, noting that GERD symptoms often recur after gastric fundoplication in obese patients.

Dr. Fornari and his colleagues concluded that “gastric bypass may replace the conventional surgical technique for patients with morbid obesity who suffer from GERD. In addition, it is well established that gastric bypass increases both quantity and quality of life by treating obesity and its related comorbidities.”