Double-scope per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM): a prospective randomized controlled trial

Kevin L Grimes, Haruhiro Inoue, Manabu Onimaru, Haruo Ikeda, Amarit Tansawet, Robert Bechara, Shinwa Tanaka
Surgical Endoscopy 2016, 30 (4): 1344-51

BACKGROUND: Since its introduction in 2010, per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) has offered an alternative to laparoscopic Heller myotomy for the treatment of achalasia. A gastric myotomy length of 3 cm has been recommended; however, it can be difficult to ensure that adequate submucosal dissection has been performed during the procedure. Commonly accepted endoscopic markers of the gastric side can be inaccurate, particularly in patients with prior endoscopic treatments, such as balloon dilation or Botox injection of the lower esophageal sphincter. We hypothesized that the use of a second endoscope would result in a more complete gastric myotomy.

METHODS: One hundred consecutive achalasia patients were randomized into single- and double-scope POEM groups. In the treatment group, a second endoscope was used to obtain a retroflexed view of the gastric cardia, while the dissecting scope transilluminated from the end of the submucosal tunnel. Prospectively collected data were analyzed, including myotomy lengths, procedure times, adverse events, and clinical outcomes.

RESULTS: POEM was completed with high rates of technical (98-100%) and clinical success (93-97%) in both groups, with a low rate of serious adverse events (2%). The second endoscope resulted in a 17 min increase in procedure time (94 vs. 77 min), myotomy extension in 34% of cases, and an increase in the average gastric myotomy length from 2.6 to 3.2 cm (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSION: A second endoscope is useful for ensuring a complete gastric myotomy during POEM. With minimal increase in procedure time and no increase in morbidity, it may be particularly useful in cases of sigmoid esophagus or otherwise altered anatomy that makes identification of the gastroesophageal junction difficult.

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