Reoperation After Nissen Fundoplication in Children With Gastroesophageal Reflux: Experience With 130 Patients

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ObjectiveThe authors evaluate reoperation for recurrent gastroesophageal reflux (GER) after a failed Nissen fundoplication.Summary Background DataNissen fundoplication is an accepted treatment for GER refractory to medical therapy. Wrap failure and recurrence of GER are noted in 8% to 12%.MethodsMedical records of 130 children undergoing a second antireflux operation for recurrent GER from January 1985 to June 1996 retrospectively were reviewed.ResultsOne hundred one patients (78%) were neurologically impaired (NI), 74 (57%) had chronic pulmonary disease, and 8 had esophageal atresia. Recurrent symptoms included vomiting (78%), growth failure (62%), choking-coughing-gagging (38%), and pneumonia (25%). Gastroesophageal reflux was confirmed by barium swallow, gastric scintigraphy, and endoscopy. Operative findings showed wrap breakdown (42%), wrap-hiatal hernia (30%), or both (21%). A second Nissen fundoplication was performed in 128 children. Complications included bowel obstruction (18), wound infection (10), pneumonia (6) and tight wrap (9). There were two postoperative (<30 days) deaths (1.5%). Of 124 patients observed long term, 89 (72%) remain symptom free. Eight were converted to tube feedings. Twenty-seven required a third fundoplication, and 19 (70%) were successful outcome. Two with repetitive wrap failure due to gastric atony underwent gastric resection and esophagojejunostomy.ConclusionNissen fundoplication was successful in 91% of patients. In 9% with wrap failure, a second Nissen fundoplication was successful in 72%. Reoperation is justified in properly selected patients. Conversion to jejunostomy feedings is suggested for neurologically impaired after two wrap failures and a partial wrap in those with esophageal atresia and severe esophageal dysmotility. Repeated wrap failure due to gastric atony requires gastric resection and esophagojejunostomy.

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