Lung transplantation, gastroesophageal reflux, and fundoplication

Andrew G N Robertson, Chris Ward, Jeff P Pearson, Paul A Corris, John H Dark, S Michael Griffin
Annals of Thoracic Surgery 2010, 89 (2): 653-60
Lung transplantation is an accepted treatment strategy for end-stage lung disease; however, bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. This review explores the role of gastroesophageal reflux disease in bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome and the evidence suggesting the benefits of anti-reflux surgery in improving lung function and survival. There is a high prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux in patients post lung transplantation. This may be due to a high preoperative incidence, vagal damage and immunosuppression. Reflux in these patients is associated with a worse outcome, which may be due to micro-aspiration. Anti-reflux surgery is safe in selected lung transplant recipients; however there has been one report of a postoperative mortality. Evidence is conflicting but may suggest a benefit for patients undergoing anti-reflux surgery in terms of lung function and survival; there are no controlled studies. The precise indications, timing, and choice of fundoplication are yet to be defined, and further studies are required.

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