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Laparoscopic Fundoplication

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease

Most people have had heartburn or acid reflux at some time in their life. Acid reflux occurs when contents of the stomach move upwards in to the gullet past the lower oesophageal sphincter. Acid reflux may damage the lining of the gullet. This whole process is called gastro-oesophageal reflux. Sequel of gastro-oesophageal reflux is called Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD).

The Lower Oesophageal Sphincter (LOS) is a ring of smooth muscle tissue, which acts as a two way valve between the stomach and the gullet. It allows food in to the stomach and prevents movement of the stomach contents in to the gullet. A weak LOS could lead to acid reflux.  In some people weak LOS is associated with a hiatus hernia. The LOS also allows vomiting and belching as a normal physiological response.

When the LOS relaxes or closes partially, reflux can occur. Infrequent reflux can be annoying but does not lead to any harm. However, frequent reflux can cause serious damage to the gullet affecting health and quality of life. Frequent reflux of acid can damage the gullet lining causing oesophagitis. Rarely, recurrent oesophagitis can lead to a stricture (narrowing). Very small percentage can develop a pre-cancerous condition (Baretts Oesophagus).

In addition to a faulty LOS, GORD can be aggravated by:

• Delayed gastric emptying (food stays in the stomach for longer before it is passed in to the small bowel).

• Impaired oesophageal function (weaker gullet muscle function which pushes food forward in to the stomach)

• Low production of saliva (important in neutralising stomach acid)

• Obesity

• Smoking, excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption

Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease

Find out all you need to know about GORD Surgery.

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