Independent association of preoperative Hill grade with gastroesophageal reflux disease 2 years after sleeve gastrectomy

Published:December 08, 2022DOI:


      • GERD prevalence increases after SG
      • Addition of HHR to SG did not influence GERD outcomes
      • Preoperative GERD, OSA, anxiety, HH, and Hill grade were associated with GERD postoperatively
      • Hill grade III-IV is an independent risk factor for GERD after SG
      • GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease; SG, sleeve gastrectomy; HHR, hiatal hernia repair; OSA, obstructive sleep apnea; HH, hiatal hernia.



      The sleeve gastrectomy (SG) is associated with postoperative gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Higher endoscopic Hill grade has been linked to GERD in patients without metabolic surgery. How preoperative Hill grade relates to GERD after SG is unknown.


      To explore the relationship between preoperative Hill grade and GERD outcomes 2 years after SG.


      Academic hospital, United States.


      All patients (n = 882) undergoing SG performed by 5 surgeons at a single academic institution from January 2015 to December 2019 were included. Complete data sets were available for 360 patients, which were incorporated in analyses. GERD was defined as the presence of a diagnosis in the medical record accompanied by pharmacotherapy. Patients with GERD postoperatively (n = 193) were compared with those without (n = 167). Univariable and multivariable analyses were conducted to explore independent associations between preoperative factors and GERD outcomes.


      The presence of any GERD increased at the postoperative follow-up of 25.2 (3.9) months compared with preoperative values (53.6% versus 41.1%; P = .0001). Secondary GERD outcomes at follow-up included de novo (41.0%), persistent (33.1%), resolved (28.4%), worsened (26.4%), and improved (12.2%) disease. Postoperative endoscopy and reoperation for GERD occurred in 26.4% and 6.7% of the sample. Patients with GERD postoperatively showed higher prevalence of Hill grade III–IV (32.6% versus 19.8%; P = .0062) and any hiatal hernia (HH) (36.3% versus 25.1%; P = .0222) compared with patients without postoperative GERD. Frequencies of gastritis, esophagitis A or B, duodenitis, and peptic ulcer disease were similar between groups. Higher prevalence of preoperative GERD (54.9% versus 25.1%; P < .0001), obstructive sleep apnea (66.8% versus 54.5%; P = .0171), and anxiety (25.4% versus 15.6%; P = .0226) was observed in patients with postoperative GERD compared with those without it. Baseline demographics, weight, other obesity-associated diseases, whether an HH was repaired at index SG, and follow-up length were statistically similar between groups. After adjusting for collinearity, preoperative GERD (odds ratio [OR] = 3.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2–5.7; P < .0001) and Hill grade III–IV (OR [95% CI]: 1.9 [1.1–3.1]; P = .0174) were independently associated with the presence of any GERD postoperatively. The preoperative presence of an HH >2 cm and whether an HH was repaired at index SG showed no independent association with GERD at follow-up.


      More than 50% of patients experienced GERD 2 years after SG. Preoperative GERD confers the highest risk for GERD postoperatively. Hill grade III–IV is independently associated with GERD after SG. Whether a hiatal hernia repair was performed did not influence GERD outcomes. Preoperative esophagogastroduodenoscopy should be obtained before SG and Hill grade routinely captured and used to counsel patients about the risk of postoperative GERD after this procedure. Hill grade may help guide the choice of metabolic operation.

      Graphical abstract


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