Morphological changes in the lower esophageal sphincter influencing the result of antireflux surgical interventions in chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease

Áron Altorjay, Anna Szilagyi, Gabriella Arato, Balazs Paal, Arpad Juhasz, Gabor Kecskes, Istvan Altorjay, János Kiss, Pal Nagy

Research output: Article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: It is still unclear whether long-term reflux episodes result in morphological changes in the lower esophageal sphincter or not. If the answer is supposedly yes, do these changes influence the postoperative functional results following antireflux surgery? Methodology: Between 1 January 2002 and 2004, we performed antireflux surgery on 85 patients. Muscle samples were taken from the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in 57 patients on operation. Patients with endoscopic findings of moderate or severe reflux esophagitis - Los Angeles B, C, D - were excluded. Control samples were obtained from muscle tissue at the gastroesophageal junction that had been removed from 16 patients undergoing gastric or esophageal resection. Histologic (hematoxylin & eosin and Giemsa), and immunohistologic (S-100 Protein, NCL-SERCA2, α-SMA) and electronmicroscopic analysis were used to evaluate the specimens. The number of smooth muscle cell nuclei in these intraoperative biopsies was used to compare the results of antireflux operations (Visick I and II-III). Results: In 19% (11/57) of the reflux-type LES muscle samples perivascular inflammatory infiltration has been noted and in 6 of these cases (6/57=11%) this has incorporated marked intramuscular and adventitial granulocyte infiltration. In one patient (1/57 = 2%) eosinophil infiltration of the myenteric plexus and the ganglion has been revealed. Significantly lower Schwann and smooth muscle cell count could be detected in LES muscle samples taken from patients with GERD (p<0.05). The analysis of the values of the 9 patients in Visick groups II and III at two months after surgery, has shown a significant decrease in the number of smooth muscle cell nuclei as compared to those patients in Visick group I (p<0.01). Conclusions: Our results draw attention to the morphological changes occurring in the LES muscles of reflux patients. The enteric ganglionitis induced by GERD may result in various functional esophageal diseases. The histologic changes - that very much resemble hypertrophy - developing in LES muscles may serve as a reason for symptoms after antireflux surgery, presumably for the most common complaint of dysphagia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-347
Number of pages6
Issue number69
Publication statusPublished - máj. 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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