Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is indicated in young patients with medication-dependent gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), both because of their need for lifelong medical treatment and the need to prevent the complications of GERD. Many elderly patients with GERD have similar concerns. We compared the safety and efficacy of laparoscopic antireflux surgery in the elderly with the results achieved in patients <65 yr.
A total of 359 patients have had laparoscopic antireflux surgery in our hospital, 42 of whom were ≥65 yr of age. Symptoms were scored from 0 (none) to 4 (severe) before and after surgery. Ambulatory pH monitoring was also performed before and after surgery. Results were compared between age groups with the Mann-Whitney U test.
Elderly patients had significantly higher preoperative American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) scores (mean 2.4 vs 2.0) (p = 0.0024), but otherwise there were no significant differences in preoperative symptom scores or pH results. Both groups demonstrated equivalent postoperative improvement in symptoms and 24-h pH study. There was no mortality in either group, and there was no significant difference in morbidity or hospital stay between the two groups.
Laparoscopic antireflux surgery is a safe and effective treatment of GERD in the elderly and should not be refused solely on the basis of age.
Departments of Digestive Diseases and Surgery, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
*Emory University Hospital, Department of Surgery, Room H124C, 1364 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30322.