Per-oral endoscopic myotomy for the treatment of non-achalasia esophageal dysmotility disorders: experience from a single high-volume center

Author Department

Surgery; Gastroenterology; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Background: Achalasia is a rare disorder of esophageal motility that induces progressive intolerance to oral intake. Other esophageal dysmotility disorders include esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction (EGJOO), distal esophageal spasm (DES), hypercontractile esophagus (HE), and other minor disorders of peristalsis (MDP) and can present similarly to achalasia despite different pathophysiologies. Prior studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of POEM in the treatment of achalasia, but little is reported regarding POEM's role in treating non-achalasia esophageal dysmotility disorders (NAEDD). This study aims to assess the safety and efficacy of POEM in the treatment of NAEDD.

Study design: This is a retrospective review of consecutive POEM cases from June 1, 2011, to February 1, 2021. NAEDD were characterized according to the Chicago classification. Primary outcome measure was the resolution of preoperative symptoms. Secondary outcomes include preoperative diagnosis, myotomy length, conversion to laparoscopic or open procedure, operative time, and length of stay (LOS). Technical success was defined as the completion of an 8 cm myotomy including the esophagogastric junction (EGJ) and extending 2 cm distal to the EGJ. Clinical success was defined as a postoperative Eckardt score ≤ 3.

Results: Of 124 cases of POEM performed during the study period, 17 were performed for NAEDD. Technical success was achieved in all 17 patients (100%). Of the fifteen patients that had documented postoperative Eckardt scores, 13 were ≤ 3, achieving a clinical success rate of 87%. Subgroup analysis (HE/MDP/DES vs. EGJOO) showed no significant differences in the preoperative or postoperative Eckardt scores between groups, and both groups demonstrated a significant decrease in Eckardt scores after POEM. No cases were aborted for technical or clinical reasons, and there were no adverse outcomes.

Conclusion: POEM is a safe and efficacious treatment modality for NAEDD. Further work is needed to develop optimal treatment strategies for this complex group of diseases.

Keywords: Dysmotility; Esophagus; Myotomy; POEM.