COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Heller myotomy for achalasia: quality of life comparison of laparoscopic and open approaches

M Katilius, V Velanovich
JSLS: Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons 2001, 5 (3): 227-31
11548827

BACKGROUND: Achalasia is a relatively rare disorder with a variety of treatment options. Although laparoscopic Heller myotomy has become the surgical treatment of choice, little data exist on the overall quality of life of patients undergoing this technique versus standard open approaches.

METHODS: We prospectively evaluated all patients surgically treated for achalasia by a single surgeon. Laparoscopic Heller myotomy consisted of a long (> or = 6 cm) esophageal cardiomyotomy extending at least 2 cm onto the gastric cardia, with a concomitant Dor fundoplication. Patients were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively for symptoms and quality of life using the SF-36, a standardized, generic quality of life instrument.

RESULTS: A total of 23 patients were surgically treated: 15 patients had a planned laparoscopic procedure, with 3 conversions; 8 had planned open procedures. Dysphagia resolved in 20 of 21 patients, with 1 patient in the laparoscopic group requiring reoperation due to an inadequate gastric myotomy. Compared with preoperative scores, a statistically significant improvement occurred in the general health domain of the SF-36 (70 to 82, P = 0.04). Compared with that in patients undergoing open surgery, the laparoscopic group had better scores in the domains of physical functioning and bodily pain.

CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic Heller myotomy has comparable success to open Heller myotomy, and causes less early detriment to quality of life. This should be the primary treatment in all fit surgical patients with achalasia.

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