Preoperative gastroesophageal reflux disorder is associated with increased morbidity in patients undergoing abdominal surgery

Ashwini Tilak, Adriana G. Ramirez, Florence E. Turrentine, Min Woong Sohn, R. Scott Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: In North America, the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disorder ranges from 18.1% to 27.8%. We measured the risk posed by preoperative esophageal disease for patients undergoing abdominal operations. Method: American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP; 2005-2015) data were merged with institutional clinical data repository records to identify esophageal disease in surgical patients undergoing intra-abdominal procedures. Patients with esophageal disease were classified as gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) or other, which included patients with esophageal stricture, spasm, ulcer, or diverticuli, achalasia, esophagitis, reflux esophagitis, Barrett's esophagus, and multiple esophageal diagnoses, excluding GERD. ACS NSQIP–targeted procedure groups included were colectomy, proctectomy, ventral hernia repair, bariatric surgery, hepatectomy, appendectomy, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, open aortoiliac repair, hysterectomy, myomectomy, and oophorectomy. Multivariable logistic regression was used to model postoperative complication rates, adjusting for ACS NSQIP risk of morbidity, demographic factors, ACS NSQIP–targeted procedure groups, and open versus laparoscopic surgery. Results: Of 9172 intra-abdominal cases, 21.3% had preoperative esophageal disease (19.6% GERD and 1.7% other). After adjustment, patients with GERD were at higher risk for experiencing a number of complications, including all-cause 30-d complication (odds ratio [OR] = 1.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.41, P = 0.044), renal complication (OR = 1.43, 95% CI 1.09-1.87, P = 0.036), wound complication (OR = 1.40, 95% CI 1.10-1.79, P = 0.028), and readmission within 30 d (OR = 1.66, 95% CI 1.35-2.04, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Preoperative GERD is associated with increased postoperative complication rate. Surgeons should consider assessing GERD in patients undergoing abdominal operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-594
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Abdominal surgery
  • Esophageal disease
  • GERD
  • Postoperative complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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