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Hiatal hernia controversies - a review of pathophysiology and treatment options

Sivacolundhu, R.K., Read, R.A. and Marchevsky, A.M. (2002) Hiatal hernia controversies - a review of pathophysiology and treatment options. Australian Veterinary Journal, 80 (1-2). pp. 48-53.

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Objective To provide a detailed discussion of the aetiology and pathophysiology of hiatal hernia in both humans and small animals, and review current medical and surgical treatments.

Design Review article.

Summary Hiatal hernia is not completely understood in humans or animals. It has a complex multifactorial aetiology and pathophysiology. A primary disturbance of the lower oesophageal sphincter has not been shown in humans or animals. Knowledge of pathophysiology is necessary to institute appropriate treatment.

Medical and/or surgical therapy is not indicated in asymptomatic cases. Medical treatment should be used for up to 1 month in stable cases of sliding hiatal hernia. Paraoesophageal hiatal hernias and any large sliding hiatal hernia should be considered for prompt surgical treatment. Surgical techniques used depend on the type of hiatal hernia present.

Surgical treatment of hiatal hernia cases should be performed by experienced surgeons, and must include hiatal closure and gastropexy. The Nissen fundoplication procedure has been discontinued in the veterinary field due to poor success rates, coupled with the published view that there is a marked difference in pathophysiology between humans and dogs. Reported complications associated with the original Nissen fundoplication technique are identical in the human and veterinary literature. There have been no complications reported with use of the modified or ‘floppy’ Nissen fundoplica-tion in dogs. Both oesophagopexy and Nissen fundoplication require further evaluation in small animals.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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