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Psychological modulation in patients surgically intervened for gastroesophageal reflux disease



Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has been related with certain psychological dimensions. The influence of mood, emotional intelligence, and perceived quality of life on clinical symptoms and outcome of antireflux surgery was evaluated in GERD patients with and without hiatal hernia. The study included 61 patients who were diagnosed with GERD between 2003 and 2008: 16 of them without hiatal hernia (group A) and 45 of them with hiatal hernia (group B). All of these patients had undergone laparoscopic antireflux surgery. Patients were clinically examined and evaluated with the following instruments: Short Form (SF)-36 Health Survey, Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index, Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) Scale, and Trait Meta-Mood Scale (TMMS)-24. Proportions were compared by using the chi-squared test; averages were compared by using the Student's t-test (with Bonferroni's correction). In general, our patients intervened for GERD showed results lower than normal or close to the lower limit of normal in the administered tests. Patients in the group without hernia were younger (P < 0.001) and with lower American Society of Anaesthesiologists risk. They showed higher scores in the SF-36 dimensions: Physical Functioning, Physical Role and Emotional Role, and lower scores in the Social Role (P < 0.001). They showed lower scores in the Emotional dimension of Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (P = 0.0068) and worse results in the Hospital Anxiety and Depression subscales of Anxiety (P < 0.001) and Depression (not significant). Men in the group without hernia showed higher scores than men in the group with hernia in the TMMS subscales corresponding to Emotional Clarity and Emotional Repair (P < 0.001). Women in the group with hernia showed higher scores than women in the group without hernia regarding Emotional Clarity (P = 0.0012). GERD patients showed poor results in all the tests, and patients without hiatal hernia compared with patients with hernia showed higher levels of anxiety, which interfered with their social life. Moreover, they showed lower tolerance to stress and higher frustration, fear, and worry. On the basis of such unfavorable phychoemotional results observed with GERD patients (especially those without hernia) in the different tests, we propose that improving our knowledge of the psychological profile of GERD patients – particularly those without hiatal hernia – could help in designing individualized medical and psychological therapies and increase success rates.