There is a very well-established and complex interplay between gastroesophageal reflux and lung disease. This is particularly true in end-stage lung disease and post-lung transplant patients. Numerous studies have shown that in patients who are undergoing pre-lung transplant evaluations for diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), emphysema, connective tissue disease, there is a high prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux and esophageal dysmotility. Post-lung transplant, many of the reflux issues persist or worsen, and there is some evidence to suggest that this leads to worsened long-term allograft function and bronchiolitis obliterans. Anti-reflux operations in patients with lung disease have been shown to be safe in both the pre and post-lung transplant setting and lead to improved reflux symptoms, as well as protecting against reflux induced allograft dysfunction in the post-lung transplant patients. Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal malignancy are also not unheard of in these patients, and select patients may benefit from operative intervention. This review discusses the links between gastroesophageal reflux and lung transplant patients in both the pre and post-transplant setting. We also review the approach to the workup of esophageal disease in the pre-lung transplant setting as well as the surgical management of this unique group of patients.
2021 Annals of Translational Medicine. All rights reserved.