The aim of this study was to analyse whether new therapeutic options--the introduction of proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) in 1989 and the laparoscopic technique in 1992--altered the surgical treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) in Sweden.
Data obtained from the Centre for Epidemiology (EpC) on patients undergoing surgery for GORD from 1987 to 1997 was analysed, and the information was validated with a questionnaire to all surgical departments.
The questionnaire gave a response rate of 94%, and the figures corresponded well with those obtained from the EpC. In 1987, 456 antireflux procedures were performed. Ten years later this figure had increased to 1303. This approximately threefold increase started before the introduction of PPI and was even more pronounced during the following few years. The development of laparoscopic antireflux surgery did not alter this increase. In 1997, 76% of the procedures were performed laparoscopically. The fundoplication rate rose from 5.5 to 12.7 procedures/100,000 inhabitants. The rates varied greatly among different counties; 7 of 23 still had a fundoplication rate of less than 10 in 1997. The median number of procedures per hospital in 1997 was 10. Only two departments accomplished more than 50 antireflux procedures.
Within 5 years the laparoscopic technique replaced the open procedure as the method of choice. However, the increase in the frequency of antireflux surgery was apparent even before the introduction of laparoscopy.