Videoscopic Heller Myotomy as First-Line Therapy for Severe Achalasia

Bloomston, Mark; Serafini, Francesco; Rosemurgy, Alexander S.
November 2001
American Surgeon;Nov2001, Vol. 67 Issue 11, p1105
Academic Journal
To many nonsurgeons myotomy is considered an excessively invasive treatment for achalasia and has become a salvage procedure when esophageal dilation and botulinum toxin (botox) injections fail. We sought to examine our experience with videoscopic Heller myotomy to determine whether preoperative therapy predicts perioperative complications and long-term outcome. Videoscopic Heller myotomy was undertaken in 111 patients with achalasia between June 1992 and May 2000. Intraoperative endoscopy was used in all patients. Fundoplication was used selectively for patients with large hiatal hernias or as part of repair of esophageal perforation. Patients were asked to grade their dysphagia and reflux symptoms before and after myotomy on a scale of 0 (no symptoms) to 5 (severe symptoms). Patients were also asked to rate their outcome as excellent (no symptoms), good (greatly improved), fair (slightly improved), or poor (not improved) compared with their preoperative status. Patients were stratified on the basis of preoperative intervention (botox, pneumatic dilation, botox and pneumatic dilation, or no botox or dilation) and compared. Previous pneumatic dilation and/or botox injection had been undertaken before operation in 88 (79%) patients whereas 23 (21%) patients had no invasive preoperative therapy. The overall mean preoperative dysphagia score was 4.8 +/-0.8 and mean preoperative reflux score was 3.3 +/- 2.1. Groups of patients undergoing preoperative interventions were similar to those patients not undergoing preoperative interventions in terms of preoperative symptoms, dysphagia scores, and reflux scores. Postoperative complications (13%) and perforations (8%) were slightly more common in patients who had undergone preoperative botox or dilation (P = not significant). Subjectively, operative myotomy was more difficult in patients who had preoperative botox or dilation. Patients had significant improvement in dysphagia, dysphagia score, reflux score, emesis/ ...


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