An extended proximal esophageal myotomy is necessary to normalize EGJ distensibility during Heller myotomy for achalasia, but not POEM

Ezra N Teitelbaum, Nathaniel J Soper, John E Pandolfino, Peter J Kahrilas, Lubomyr Boris, Frédéric Nicodème, Zhiyue Lin, Eric S Hungness
Surgical Endoscopy 2014, 28 (10): 2840-7

BACKGROUND: For laparoscopic Heller myotomy (LHM), the optimal myotomy length proximal to the esophagogastric junction (EGJ) is unknown. In this study, we used a functional lumen imaging probe (FLIP) to measure EGJ distensibility changes resulting from variable proximal myotomy lengths during LHM and peroral esophageal myotomy (POEM).

METHODS: Distensibility index (DI) (defined as the minimum cross-sectional area at the EGJ divided by pressure) was measured with FLIP after each operative step. During LHM and POEM, each patient's myotomy was performed in two stages: first, a myotomy ablating only the EGJ complex was created (EGJ-M), extending from 2 cm proximal to the EGJ, to 3 cm distal to it. Next, the myotomy was lengthened 4 cm further cephalad to create an extended proximal myotomy (EP-M).

RESULTS: Measurements were performed in 12 patients undergoing LHM and 19 undergoing POEM. LHM resulted in an overall increase in DI (1.6 ± 1 vs. 6.3 ± 3.4 mm(2)/mmHg, p < 0.001). Creation of an EGJ-M resulted in a small increase (1.6-2.3 mm(2)/mmHg, p < 0.01) and extension to an EP-M resulted in a larger increase (2.3-4.9 mm(2)/mmHg, p < 0.001). This effect was consistent, with 11 (92%) patients experiencing a larger increase after EP-M than after EGJ-M. Fundoplication resulted in a decrease in DI and deinsufflation an increase. POEM resulted in an increase in DI (1.3 ± 1 vs. 9.2 ± 3.9 mm(2)/mmHg, p < 0.001). Both creation of the submucosal tunnel and performing an EGJ-M increased DI, whereas lengthening of the myotomy to an EP-M had no additional effect. POEM resulted in a larger overall increase from baseline than LHM (7.9 ± 3.5 vs. 4.7 ± 3.3 mm(2)/mmHg, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: During LHM, an EP-M was necessary to normalize distensibility, whereas during POEM, a myotomy confined to the EGJ complex was sufficient. In this cohort, POEM resulted in a larger overall increase in EGJ distensibility.

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