Defining a Learning Curve for Laparoscopic Cardiomyotomy

Grotenhuis, Brechtje A.; Wijnhoven, Bas P. L.; Jamieson, Glyn G.; Devitt, Peter G.; Bessell, Justin R.; Watson, David I.
August 2008
World Journal of Surgery;Aug2008, Vol. 32 Issue 8, p1689
Academic Journal
This study was designed to determine whether there is a learning curve for laparoscopic cardiomyotomy for the treatment of achalasia. All patients who underwent a primary laparoscopic cardiomyotomy for achalasia between 1992 and 2006 in our hospitals were identified from a prospective database. The institutional and the individual surgeon’s learning experiences were assessed based on operative and clinical outcome parameters. The outcomes of cardiomyotomies performed by consultant surgeons versus supervised trainees also were compared. A total of 186 patients met the inclusion criteria; 144 procedures were undertaken by consultant surgeons and 42 by a surgical trainee. The length of operation decreased after the first ten cases in both the institutional and each individual experience. The rate of conversion to open surgery also was significantly higher in the first 20 cases performed. Intraoperative complications, overall satisfaction with the outcome, reoperation rate, and postoperative dysphagia were not associated with the institutional or the surgeon’s operative experience. Although the length of the operation was greater for surgical trainees (93 versus 79 minutes; p < 0.01), no differences in outcome between the operations performed by consultant surgeons and surgical trainees were detected. An institutional (20 cases) and an individual (10 cases) learning curve for laparoscopic cardiomyotomy for achalasia can be defined. The clinical outcome for laparoscopic cardiomyotomy does not differ between supervised surgical trainees and consultant surgeons.


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