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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2000 June;55(6):415-20

language: Italian

Sliding hiatal hernia in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Physiopathology and surgical therapy

Bresadola V., Noce L., Ventroni M. G., Vianello V., Intini S., Bresadola F.


Background. The aims of the study were to evaluate how the sliding hiatal hernia, in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acts on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and esophageal clearance, and how surgical therapy corrects the physiopathological parameters.
Methods. Records of 25 patients with only GERD and of 15 with GERD associated to hiatal hernia (>3.5 cm) were reviewed. Ten subjects without symptoms and/or endoscopic and functional signs of GERD were considered as control group. The selection of the patients was done by reviewing radiographic examination, endoscopy and functional tests (esophageal manometry, pH-monitoring).
Results. Manometry showed a greater LES incompetence (pressure and length) and a worse peristalsis (distal amplitude) in the group with reflux and hiatal hernia against patients with reflux only. Also, patients with hiatal hernia had more acid exposure (total time pH<4 in the distal esophagus) and a longer time of esophageal clearance, at pH-monitoring. The functional tests in 8 patients, before and after laparoscopic Toupet fundoplication with posterior closing of the crura, showed a normalised LES, esophageal clearance and acid exposure. Esophageal peristalsis did not show any statistically significance.
Conclusions. The presence of hiatal hernia, in patients with GERD, causes worse LES, peristalsis and clearance with a greater acid exposure of the esophagus. Fundoplication, by recostructing the sphincter-diaphragm unit, normalises the preoperative physiopathology situation but without an effective peristalsis improvement.

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