A new analysis indicates that death rates and the need for additional operations following laparoscopic surgery for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease are very low.

Among 8947 patients, 90- and 30-day mortality rates were 0.08% and 0.03%, respectively. Only 1 death (0.01%) was directly surgery-related. The 90-day reoperation rate was 0.4%.

The findings demonstrate that laparoscopic surgery offers a remarkably safe alternative to acid reflux drugs.

"One of the main arguments against using antireflux surgery has been that it carries a risk of mortality," said Dr. John Maret-Ouda, author of the British Journal of Surgery study. "However, considering our findings, antireflux surgery can be considered a safe procedure, and it might be an underutilized treatment option in selected individuals with documented gastro-oesophageal reflux disease."

Study: Mortality from laparoscopic antireflux surgery in a nationwide cohort of the working-age population, J. Maret-Ouda, M. Yanes, P. Konings, N. Brusselaers and J. Lagergren, British Journal of Surgery, doi: 10.1002/bjs.10141, published online 21 March 2016.