Nissen Fundoplication for Asthma

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dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 5/4/2009 4:38 PM (GMT -7)   
On February 27th I underwent a laproscopic Nissen Fundoplication surgery. This surgery wraps the top of the stomach around the esophagus (first repairing a hiatus hernia) in order to create a new, working valve to replace the defective LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter), so that the acid in the stomach is not allowed into the esophagus.

I was very fearful of this surgery, because--although my asthma and family doctors both wanted me to have the surgery--my research online found many hysterical posts that warned against having the surgery. Actually it was the GERD/Heartburn forum on this site that gave me the courage to go ahead with the surgery.

For at least four years, my asthma was uncontrolled, and I suffered greatly with it. In fact, I was hospitalized (for a week) for asthma that was caused by a gastritis/GERD attack created by a reaction to Aleve and an antibiotic.

I had been on Prilosec, then Nexium, and lastly Protonix (all Proton Pump Inhibitors), for about 10 years. Even with 40mg Protonix twice a day, I still got breakthrough reflux. Although my testing did not show that I had severe GERD, it was clear that the acid that was refluxing into my esophagus was negatively affecting my lungs. After many tests, my GI doctor (because of the opinions of my asthma and family doctors), suggested that I make an appointment with the surgeon that he recommended. I did that, and decided to go forward with the surgery.

After four years of constant coughing, wheezing, and no relief (I used my nebulizer at least twice a day for the past year) I'd had enough. I had to give the surgery a try, and hope that my doctors were right, and that it would help my asthma. At least it would rule-out GERD if it didn't work.

I had been on high doses of Flovent, in an attempt to control my asthma(along with some short courses of prednosone), I was having some symptoms of adrenal insufficiency. My skin was getting very thin (it would tear if I just hit it against something), and was also bruising very easily.

I am now almost 10 weeks post op, and I'm happy to report that my lungs are doing great! My lungs haven't been this good for YEARS. After surgery I struggled with a lung infection that had started before my surgery date. After clearing that, I got the flu--then bronchitis, which became infected. After a course of antibiotics, I cleared completely. Now my lungs feel wonderful!

I would definitely encourage anyone suffering from uncontrolled asthma to look into this surgery. I wish I had done it years ago. I was on PPI's and they weren't doing me much good. I continued to get reflux, which created very sick lungs.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.
I'm a very happy Nissen customer!

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 5/4/2009 7:03 PM (GMT -7)   
oh wow congrats, I'm so happy for you!
I'm also very glad it's working and that you can breathe, I wish you
much more success and I'm glad you posted...
soft Hugz
(((((((((((((dencha)))))))))))))))))))
WOOHOO....
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 5/5/2009 2:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Chartereux.
One correction...I read through my post, and noticed I said I'd taken PPI's (to protect my esophagus, and because my family doctor suspected that GERD was affecting my asthma) for 20 years, not 10.

Don't think that because you're not responding to PPI treatment, that the surgery won't help you.
Denise

Red_34
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23424
   Posted 5/5/2009 4:39 AM (GMT -7)   
That is totally awesome! I was really hoping this surgery would do wonders for you and it did. I will cross my fingers and hope that it continues to improve!
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dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 5/5/2009 4:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Red. I appreciate your good wishes. I hope that someone else who is suffering from severe asthma that is caused or exacerbated by reflux will read the post and consider giving the surgery a try.

jonny5_is_alive
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 12/18/2009 7:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks dencha, for your posts and courage. My asthma has exploded over the last few years, in particular this past year, as my gerd has worsened. I have a hiatal hernia and a non functioning LES so my gerd seems to progressively get worse, regardless of the meds. I've taken all the ppi's out there so far to no avail. I am currently sticking with aciphex. I was planning on having the surgery a few years ago but ended up getting a little scared off as there was a concern that came up through the barium test showing delayed gastric emptying. This past year my asthma has really taken a turn for the worse. Im taking the highest dose of advair hfa they can give me and it still seems to be ineffective. I use my nebulizer and inhaler pretty frequently. Sometimes several times a day. If I get sick I am pretty much on it non stop or in the hospital. I am only 27 and was in pretty good health before all of this picked up several years ago. Before my gerd picked up speed I rarely used my nebulizer or inhaler. Typically only if i was exercising or as a result of allergies or some seasonal sickness like bronchitis. My asthma doctor, more than anyone else, has been really pushing me towards the nissen. Im normally pretty fit but I have put on about 25 pounds this past year just from all of the prednisone runs. :( !!! lol. After reading your story and hearing your results I am feeling pretty confident that I should again re-evaluate having the nissen done. I have been waiting around watching and following the esophyx procedure in hopes that it would be the silver bullet but after seeing some reports, both positive and negative, I am thinking it may not be dramatic enough to prevent the acid overflow into my lungs. This past week or two has really pushed me over the edge as I been having some heart issues like high blood pressure, really irregular heartbeat and chest pain, more nausea than usual and some other interesting symptoms related to my heart. The worse case happening the other night. My blood pressure was 152 over 119 and my pulse was running consistently around 115 bpm. My heartbeat was really bizarre and out of rhythm and i felt really dizzy and an odd sense of confusion. I was a little taken back since I previously haven't had with any abnormal heart behavior prior to the last couple months. Normally it has been really good. I have realized that it normally peaks an hour or so after i do my advair and after doing some research over the last couple days i found that in rare cases, the salmeterol(serevent) part of advair, can cause all of the symptoms I've been having. So, now we have to figure out how to get me off of it onto something else. Anyways, sorry for rambling about that but I am just really interested to hear how your asthma and gerd are doing since we are about a year post op for you now. How has it effected your life negatively in anyways since you had it done?
My wife and I recently had a baby girl four months ago and it has really led me to re-evaluate all of this and the impact on my life and their lives, if I don't figure out a way to prevent it from progressing further. I want to be there for them for as long as possible so I really need to stop holding back and do all I can to work this out. I am a little scared at the moment as all of these things have been combining together and at this point I am pretty ready and willing to do anything to fix the issues, surgery or other. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks dencha. Hope all is well!
-Jonathan

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 12/18/2009 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Jonathan,
this is an older posts and I hope dencha can come back and talk to you...would be nice if you(dencha) could posts on your progress..
Fingers crossed that dencha is still doing good....
Jonathan, maybe get a cardiologist consult about your heart before doing any surgery, the cardiologist could do an echocardiogram and those are not so bad...and I want to wish you good luck in what you choose to do...
lots of soft healing hugz
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Jonathan)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14417
   Posted 12/18/2009 6:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Johnny, she visits the GERD site alot.

Joy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 12/19/2009 10:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Jonathan,
I wrote you a post on the GERD forum (thanks Joy, for pointing him in that direction). When I posted here it was just for someone like you, who is looking for an answer. I was a mess, and could not find the courage to move forward with the surgery.

Finally I hit bottom...I was so sick with asthma, and so tired of coughing and wheezing, that I decided I had to take a chance with the surgery. I am so glad I did.

It took a couple of months for my lungs to heal...I had the surgery on February 27, 2009, and it took until mid May for my lungs to recover and I was able to give up the nebulizer. I have not taken my nebulizer treatment since--through allergies, sinus infections, and colds. That's unheard of for me. When my lungs were damaged by reflux, they were in such bad shape that any problem I had put me over the edge.

I do still take Serevent and Flovent, but am taking normal dosages. My allergy/asthma doc is trying to increase the strength of my serum/shots. If that doesn't work in allowing me to move to lower doses (the doses I'm on now are HALF what I was on before the surgery, and I haven't had to take prednosone since, either. Still I'm on 220mcg Flovent and the Serevent twice a day, which, although a normal dosage, still more than the 110mcg I was taking before my lungs took a dive before surgery. (I had even been hospitalized with uncontrolled asthma before surgery.)

As far as post-surgery changes...
1. Right after surgery, of course, there is a recovery period. It was not nearly as bad as I had expected. My surgeon had me on liquids in the hospital, and soft for the first five days, until I saw him. Then I was able to eat anything I could chew to a liquid, which was a lot of choices. I couldn't eat much for a while, since the swelling gives you a feeling of fullness. By about four months, I was eating pretty normal amounts of food--even went on vacation.

2. After that, I was able to eat totally normally. I could burp a bit/my stomach actually burps itself, so that helped me avoid some of the bloating that can happen. I thought the gas would be much worse than it has been.

3. I can't take the big pills I used to take (yet--maybe in time) so I cut them up into smaller pieces or crush them.

4. Sometimes if I eat too fast or don't chew my food carefully it can feel "stuck" and I get some spasms from it. After drinking water (or hot tea) it resolves--no problem.

5. Occasionally, when my wrap has been irritated (something like the above situation), I can get something called "dumping", when my stomach dumps the food prematurely into the intestine. That causes lots of abdominal grumbling and loose stools. This doesn't happen much.

6. I have a variety of stool consistencies...different than before the surgery.

NONE of these things compares to the suffering I experienced before the surgery. I could no longer live with the asthma symptoms I was suffering with. Yes, I still take asthma meds, but now my asthma is in control.

I am a very satisfied customer. Any discomfort listed above is no big deal.
Keep in mind, though, that if I'd had an incompetent surgeon, it would be a very different story. There are many people who have the surgery performed by a surgeon who is not competent IN THE SPECIFIC NISSEN PROCEDURE, and they have some terrible side effects. If you decide to do this surgery (and I would encourage you to look into it) be sure to research your surgeon THOROUGHLY.

Good luck! I hope you find an answer to your asthma issues.
Believe me...I feel your pain!
Take care,
Denise

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 12/20/2009 11:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow, dencha,
nice to see you and so glad your doing so good...I wish you continued success...
Lots of well wishes to you Jonathan and dencha....
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Jonathan/dencha)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
hugz
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 12/20/2009 6:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Chartreux,
Thanks so much for your good wishes! I suspect that there are many asthma sufferers whose symptoms are made worse by reflux--whether silent or obvious.
Have a wonderful holiday!
Take care,
Denise

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14417
   Posted 12/20/2009 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm having my reflux surgery on Tuesday.
I'm hoping it will stop my coughing and asthma attacks.

Joy

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9622
   Posted 12/20/2009 7:54 PM (GMT -7)   
couchtater (Joy)
Good luck and well wishes on your up coming surgery, post back when you can to let us know how your doing, okay...
will miss you, so my fingers will be crossed for you and well wishes....
lots of soft hugz
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Joy))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
hugz
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********


dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 12/21/2009 3:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Best wishes, Joy! There are never any guarantees, and when I finally decided to have my surgery, my docs were out of answers. I knew I had to try it, and didn't know if it would help.
Wow...it really has.

I'm in the middle of a pretty bad cold (My doc just put me on an antibiotic), but my asthma is totally under control. Pre-surgery, I would have been wheezing, nebulizing, and probably on prednosone. Yay!

Here's hoping you find the same results with your surgery.
Best wishes for a safe trip, uneventful surgery, and speedy recovery!
Take care,
Denise

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14417
   Posted 12/23/2009 6:17 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm back!
I'm in very little pain. My chronic cough is gone! I do have to do some lung exercises to build my lungs back up). Once and awhile I do a deep cough and have to hold my pillow over my stomach.

I'm feeling okay.

Joy

dencha
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7167
   Posted 12/26/2009 4:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Joy,
Hang in there with the cough. I had a horrible cough post surgery--a lung infection that I had before surgery. I was nebulizing, and my husband did lung PT on me. Coughing killed the incision on the left side/rib area. I was on an antibiotic and oral steroids, and was very worried about coughing my hernia repair out. It all worked out, though. Eventually my lungs recovered, and the coughing stopped, thank goodness.
Feel well, and best wishes with your healing process.
Denise
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