The incidence of gastroesophageal reflux after transthoracic esophagocardio-myotomy without fundoplication: a long term follow-up

Lindenmann, Joerg; Maier, Alfred; Eherer, Andreas; Matzi, Veronika; Tomaselli, Florian; Smolle, Josef; Smolle-Juettner, Freyja Maria
March 2005
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;Mar2005, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p357
Academic Journal
Abstract: Objective: Evaluation of the long term results of Heller''s myotomy performed over a lateral thoracotomy without additional fundoplication. Methods: Forty patients (17 males, 23 females; mean age 43.2 years; range: 14–63 years) were operated between 1985 and 2000. Preoperative evaluation included clinical scoring of symptoms, esophagogram, endoscopy, manometry and 24-h ph-metry. At the follow-up investigation, the preoperative evaluation was repeated in all patients, adding a histological workup of the distal esophageal mucosa. The mean duration of follow-up after surgery was 10.3 years, ranging from 3–16 years. Results: The clinical scores improved significantly: Excellent relief from dysphagia was present in 86%, little or no regurgitation was found in 79%, little or no retrosternal spasms were reported by 72% of the patients. Esophagogram showed an overall esophageal dilatation in all patients but no significant obstruction at the esophagogastric junction. Endoscopically, 2.5% had candida-esophagitis, 5% showed signs of a GERD I, 92.5% had a macroscopically insuspect esophageal mucosa. Histologically, 53% showed a mild chronic inflammation. Manometry demonstrated distinct hypomotility of the esophagus in all cases, yet no elevated pressure of the lower sphincter; pH-metry showed moderate reflux in 46%. Conclusions: Transthoracic cardiomyotomy is a valid method for the treatment of achalasia, but it will not improve the esophageal motility, which slowly deterioriates in these cases. The patient''s subjective assessment of the postoperative result was positive in the majority of cases. Although fundoplication was not done in any of these patients, none of them showed signs of clinically relevant reflux.


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