Two-year follow-up for 45 patients with achalasia who underwent peroral endoscopic myotomy

Xia Chen, Quan-Peng Li, Guo-Zhong Ji, Xian-Xiu Ge, Xiu-Hua Zhang, Xiang-Yang Zhao, Lin Miao
European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery 2015, 47 (5): 890-6

OBJECTIVES: Achalasia is an oesophageal disorder characterized by abnormalities of peristalsis and impaired swallowing-induced relaxation. The therapeutic approach at present remains palliative. Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) is thought to be less invasive and to maintain the function of the lower oesophageal sphincter postoperatively. However, the effects of POEM still need to be evaluated and understood.

METHODS: We analysed the outcome for 45 achalasia patients who underwent POEM in our centre, described the details of surgery and evaluated the effects by 4 s integrated relaxation pressure (4s-IRP). All patients were followed up for at least 2 years and were assessed by the dysphagia score, the Eckardt score, oesophageal manometry and the gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) Q-questionnaire. According to the new Chicago classification of oesophageal motility using high-resolution manometry, the patients were diagnosed and classified into types I, II and III.

RESULTS: The average age of the patients was 46.32 ± 19.04 years (range 26-72 years), and the ratio of women to men was 1.81. All patients were suffering from dysphagia; more than half of them experienced regurgitation. The data revealed that POEM considerably reduced the 4s-IRP, dysphagia score and Eckardt score postoperatively (all P < 0.05). The patients with type III achalasia had higher values of 4s-IRP than the others (type I, P = 0.025; type II, P = 0.022) before treatment and at 3 months after treatment (type I, P = 0.028; type II, P = 0.047). In type I patients, GERD symptoms were more likely to appear at 24 months after POEM than in type II and III patients (P = 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Peroral endoscopic myotomy provides definite relief of symptoms in these patients with achalasia and offers them long-term therapeutic benefit. Considering the risks of surgery, we believe that POEM is a better choice than surgery for achalasia patients and carries lower risk. However, our study is a preliminary exploration; therefore, larger-scale studies are needed for further research on POEM.

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