Does previous endoscopic treatment affect the outcome of laparoscopic Heller myotomy?

Ann Chir. 2000 Jan;125(1):45-9.


Study aim: Aim of this study was to assess symptomatic and objective outcome in patients undergoing laparoscopic Heller myotomy after unsuccessful endoscopic treatment, compared to patients having primary surgery.

Patients and method: Between November 1992 and December 1998, 92 patients with esophageal achalasia underwent laparoscopic Heller myotomy and Dor fundoplication. Intraoperative endoscopy was routinely performed. Sixty patients had primary surgery (PS); 32 patients had surgery after unsuccessful pneumatic dilatation (PD) (n = 22), or botulinum toxin (Botox) injection (n = 10).

Results: The mean operative time and the incidence of postoperative dysphagia were similar in the two groups. The incidence of intraoperative mucosal tears was 5% in the PS group and 12.5% in the PD/Botox group (P = NS). Mucosal tears occurred more frequently during the first 30 operations (17% vs 3.2%, P < 0.05). Median follow-up was 28 months (range 4-76). An abnormal esophageal acid exposure was documented in 2 patients in the PS group (7.7%), and in two patients in the PD/Botox group (13.3%) (P = NS). Lower esophageal sphincter pressure significantly decreased in both groups (P < 0.01). The mean percentage of radionuclide residual activity in the esophagus at 1 and 10 minutes significantly decreased in both groups (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: There is only a trend, although not statistically significant, towards an increased risk of complications and adverse effects in patients previously treated by PD and/or Botox. The higher incidence of mucosal tears during the first 30 operations suggests the effect of the learning curve.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / administration & dosage
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / adverse effects
  • Cardia / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dilatation
  • Esophageal Achalasia / surgery*
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Esophagus / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuromuscular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuromuscular Agents / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A