Comparison of perioperative outcomes between peroral esophageal myotomy (POEM) and laparoscopic Heller myotomy

Eric S Hungness, Ezra N Teitelbaum, Byron F Santos, Fahd O Arafat, John E Pandolfino, Peter J Kahrilas, Nathaniel J Soper
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery: Official Journal of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2013, 17 (2): 228-35

BACKGROUND: Peroral esophageal myotomy (POEM) is a novel endoscopic operation for the treatment of achalasia. Few POEM outcome data exist, and no study has compared POEM with the surgical standard, laparoscopic Heller myotomy (LHM).

METHODS: Perioperative outcomes were compared between POEM and LHM performed in a nonrandomized fashion. Patients in both groups met the following eligibility criteria: diagnosis of achalasia, age 18-85, and absence of prior achalasia treatment.

RESULTS: Eighteen patients underwent POEM, and 55 patients underwent LHM. Operative times were shorter for POEM (113 vs. 125 min, p < .05), and estimated blood loss was less (≤10 ml in all cases vs. 50 ml, p < .001). Myotomy lengths, complication rates, and length of stay were similar. Pain scores were similar upon post-anesthesia care unit arrival and on postoperative day 1 but were higher at 2 h for POEM patients (3.5 vs. 2, p = .03). Narcotic requirements were similar, although fewer POEM patients received ketorolac. POEM patients' Eckardt scores decreased (median 1 postop vs. 7 preop, p < .001), and 16 (89 %) patients had a treatment success (score ≤3) at median 6-month follow-up. Six weeks after POEM, routine follow-up manometry and esophagram showed normalization of esophagogastric junction pressures and contrast column heights.

CONCLUSIONS: POEM and LHM appear to have similar perioperative outcomes. Further investigation is needed regarding long-term results after POEM.

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