Objectives: Endoscopic balloon dilatation and laparoscopic myotomy are established treatments for achalasia. Recently, a new endoscopic technique for complete myotomy was described. Herein, we report the results of the first prospective trial of peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) in Europe.
Methods: POEM was performed under general anesthesia in 16 patients (male:female (12:4), mean age 45 years, range 26-76). The primary outcome was symptom relief at 3 months, defined as an Eckhard score ≤3. Secondary outcomes were procedure-related adverse events, lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure on manometry, reflux symptoms, and medication use before and after POEM.
Results: A 3-month follow-up was completed for all patients. Treatment success (Eckhard score ≤3) was achieved in 94% of cases (mean score pre- vs. post-treatment (8.8 vs. 1.4); P<0.001). Mean LES pressure was 27.2 mm Hg pre-treatment and 11.8 mm Hg post-treatment (P<0.001). No patient developed symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux after treatment, but one patient was found to have an erosive lesion (LA grade A) on follow-up esophagogastroduodenoscopy. No patient required medication with proton pump inhibitors or antacids after POEM.
Conclusions: POEM is a promising new treatment for achalasia resulting in short-term symptom relief in >90% of cases. Studies evaluating long-term efficacy and comparing POEM with established treatments have been initiated.