Effect of Vagus Nerve Injury on the Outcome of Antireflux Surgery: An Extensive Literature Review

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Background: Vagus nerve injury (VNI) is a feared complication of antireflux surgery (ARS). The impact of VNI on the functional outcomes of ARS has not yet been evaluated systematically. The aim of this review was to evaluate the impact of VNI on functional and clinical outcome of ARS. Methods: A systematic search was performed until March 2015, using the following online databases: MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Register of Controlled Clinical Trials. Eight studies remained available for assessment. Articles were divided into 2 groups: (a) one with unintended, accidental VNI and (b) one group comparing ARS with and without intended vagotomy. Results: The prevalence of unintended, accidental VNI ranged from 10 to 42% after ARS. No clear differences were seen in outcome for reflux control between the VNI and vagus nerve intact group. A higher prevalence of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting was observed in the VNI group. Conclusion: VNI is a feared but neglected complication of ARS. Larger prospective studies that objectively assess vagus nerve integrity before and after ARS are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-239
JournalDigestive Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Reflux disease
  • Upper GI surgery
  • Diaphragmatic hernias
  • Complications

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