Treatment of Achalasia with Per-Oral Endoscopic Myotomy: Analysis of 50 Consecutive Patients

Author Department

Surgery; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date




Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) has become an acceptable incisionless treatment for achalasia based on encouraging outcomes in multiple series worldwide. This report reflects our early experience.


Data were collected prospectively on all patients undergoing POEM between June 2011 and April 2016 under IRB approval. Diagnosis of achalasia was confirmed by standard preoperative work-up. Primary outcome was symptom relief, measured by Eckardt score. Secondary outcomes were operative time, length of stay (LOS), adverse events, failure, and recurrence.


Fifty patients were included; 30 were female. Mean age was 55.7 ± 17.7 years. Mean BMI was 29.5 ± 9.2. Median OR time was 133.5 minutes (range 70-462); average myotomy was 13.1 ± 2.3 cm. One early case was converted to a laparoscopic Heller myotomy due to extensive submucosal fibrosis from a recent Botox injection. Two cases were aborted; one due to extensive submucosal fibrosis and the other to intraoperative capnopericardium. Median LOS was 1 day (range 0.8-8). Two major complications occurred: intraoperative cardiac arrest due to capnopericardium and postoperative submucosal hemorrhage. There were no deaths. Mean postoperative Eckardt score was 1.0 ± 1.9 (range 0-8) at 2-6 weeks (vs. preoperative score 7.7 ± 2.8; P < .0001); mean dysphagia component 0.35 ± 0.28 (vs. preoperative score 2.6 ± 0.7; P < .0001). Two recurrences were identified, both at 6 months.


POEM is a safe and durable treatment for achalasia in the short term. We demonstrated marked improvement of symptoms in all completed cases. There was an acceptable serious adverse event rate of 4%, failure of 6% due to patient selection, and recurrences occurring in only 4% of cases.