Conference Coverage

Anxiety can impact patient satisfaction after GERD surgery



BALTIMORE – Patients who take benzodiazepines for anxiety and have laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux disease achieve similar outcomes as other patients, but also have much lower rates of postop satisfaction, according to a study from the Ohio State University presented at the annual meeting of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons.

Surgeons in the OR DAJ/Thinkstock

Carla Holcomb, MD, a minimally invasive surgery/bariatric fellow at the Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, reported the upshot of the study findings. “Preoperative counseling is especially important regarding postoperative expectations in patients with anxiety,” she said.

The retrospective study evaluated 271 patients who had laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication (LNF) during 2011-2016 at the medical center, comparing outcomes in patients who were on serotonin-modulating medication for depression (n = 103), benzodiazepines for anxiety (n = 44), or neither (n = 124). The researchers evaluated a number of metrics – DeMeester score of esophageal acid exposure, pre- and postoperative health-related quality of life, and postoperative antacid use and need for endoscopic dilation – across all cohorts. While some scores among the anxiety cohort trended higher (DeMeester score of 43 vs. 38 for the no-anxiety patients) they were not statistically significant, Dr. Holcomb noted. Patients taking antidepressants reported similar subjective outcomes and satisfaction rates to those not taking antidepressants.

However, when patients were queried about their overall satisfaction after laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication 77%-87% in the no-depression, depression, and no-anxiety groups reported they were satisfied, while only 37% of those in the anxiety group did so. That is based on a response rate of 53% to a telephone inquiry 15 months after LNF.

“The patients who had anxiety looked vastly different from the rest of the population,” said Dr. Holcomb. “Patients taking antidepressants reported similar objective outcomes and high satisfaction rates, [compared with] patients not taking antidepressants after LNF, and although LNF does improve gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms in patients taking anxiolytics, they rarely achieve satisfaction in long-term follow-up.”

Among the study limitations Dr. Holcomb acknowledged were the 53% long-term response rate and not knowing if an anatomical reason may explain the higher health-related quality of life scores in the anxiety group – 7 vs. 4 in the no-anxiety group – at long-term follow-up, although the overall score was low at 5.

Dr. Holcomb had no relevant financial disclosures.

SOURCE: Holcomb CN et al. SAGES 2019, Session SS04.

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