Gut 57:161-166 doi:10.1136/gut.2007.133298
  • Oesophagus

Mechanisms of acid, weakly acidic and gas reflux after anti-reflux surgery

  1. A J Bredenoord1,
  2. W A Draaisma2,
  3. B L A M Weusten1,
  4. H G Gooszen2,
  5. A J P M Smout3
  1. 1
    Department of Gastroenterology, St Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, The Netherlands
  2. 2
    Department of Surgery, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  3. 3
    Gastrointestinal Research Unit, Department of Gastroenterology, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Dr A J Bredenoord, Department of Gastroenterology, St Antonius Hospital, PO Box 2500, 3430 EM Nieuwegein, The Netherlands; a.bredenoord{at}
  • Revised 6 September 2007
  • Accepted 10 September 2007
  • Published Online First 25 September 2007


Background: Whereas it is well documented that fundoplication reduces acid reflux, the effects of the procedure on non-acid and gas reflux and the mechanisms through which this is achieved have not been fully elucidated.

Methods: In 14 patients, reflux was measured with impedance–pH monitoring during a postprandial 90 min stationary recording period before and 3 months after fundoplication. Concomitantly, the occurrence of transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations (TLOSRs) and morphology of the oesophagogastric junction were studied with high-resolution manometry. This was followed by 24 h ambulatory impedance–pH monitoring.

Results: Before fundoplication, two separate high-pressure zones (hernia profile) were detected during 24.9% of total time, during which there was a large increase in reflux rate. After fundoplication, the hernia profile did not occur. Fundoplication decreased the number of TLOSRs (from 10.5 (SEM 1.2) to 4.5 (0.7), p<0.01) and also the percentage of TLOSRs associated with acidic or weakly acidic reflux (from 72.7% to 4.1%, p<0.01). Nadir pressure during TLOSRs increased after surgery (from 0 (0–0) to 1.0 (1–2) kPa, p<0.05). In the ambulatory study, there was a large decrease in prevalence of both acid (−96%, from 47.0 (5.9) to 1.8 (0.5), p<0.01) and weakly acidic reflux (−92%, from 25.0 (9.7) to 2.3 (0.9), p<0.01). The decrease in gas reflux was less pronounced (−53%, from 24.2 (4.9) to 11.3 (3.0), p<0.01).

Conclusions: Fundoplication greatly reduces both acid and weakly acidic liquid reflux; gas reflux is reduced to a lesser extent. Three mechanisms play a role: (1) abolition of the double high-pressure zone profile (hiatal hernia); (2) reduced incidence of TLOSRs; and (3) decreased percentage of TLOSRs associated with reflux.


  • Competing interests: None declared