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. 2016 Nov;28(11):1741-1746.
doi: 10.1111/nmo.12875. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Efficacy of Pneumodilation in Achalasia After Failed Heller Myotomy


Efficacy of Pneumodilation in Achalasia After Failed Heller Myotomy

C M G Saleh et al. Neurogastroenterol Motil. .


Background: Heller myotomy is an effective treatment for the majority of achalasia patients. However, a small proportion of patients suffer from persistent or recurrent symptoms after surgery and they are usually subsequently treated with pneumodilation (PD). Data on the efficacy of PD as secondary treatment for achalasia are scarce. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the efficacy of PD as treatment for achalasia patients suffering from persistent or recurrent symptoms after Heller myotomy.

Methods: Patients with recurrent or persistent symptoms (Eckardt score >3) after Heller myotomy were selected. Patients were treated with PD, using a graded distension protocol with balloon sizes ranging from 30 to 40 mm. After each dilation symptoms were assessed to evaluate whether a subsequent dilation with a larger balloon size was required. Patients with recurrent or persistent symptoms (Eckardt score >3) after treatment with a 40-mm balloon were identified as failures.

Key results: Twenty-four patients were included in total; 15 patients with achalasia type I, seven with achalasia type II and two with achalasia type III. Median relapse time was 2.5 years after Heller myotomy (IQR: 9 years and 3 months). Three patients were not suitable for PD; one patient was morbidly obese and not fit for any form of sedation and two had a siphon-shaped esophagus leaving 21 patients to treat. Eight patients were successfully treated with a single 30-mm balloon dilation (median follow-up time: 6.5 years; IQR: 7.5 years). Four patients required dilations with 30- and 35-mm balloons (median follow-up time: 11 years; IQR: 3 years). Nine patients failed on the 35-mm balloon dilation and underwent a subsequent dilation with a 40-mm balloon, and all failed on this balloon as well. Thus, PD was successful in 12 of the 21 treatable patients, resulting in a success rate of 57% for treatable patients or 50% for all patients. Baseline Eckardt scores were also higher in those that failed (median: 8; IQR: 2) than those that were treated successfully (median: 5.5; IQR: 2) treated (p = 0.009). Furthermore, baseline barium column height at 5 min was higher in patients with failed (median: 6 cm; IQR: 6 cm) treatment than in patients with successful (median: 2.6 cm; IQR: 4.7 cm) treatment (p = 0.016). Baseline lower esophageal sphincter pressure was not different between patients who were treated successfully (median: 11 mmHg; IQR: 5 mmHg) and those that failed on PD (median: 17.5 mmHg; IQR: 10.8 mmHg) treatment (p > 0.05). Baseline symptom pattern was also not a predictor of successful treatment. No adverse events were recorded during or after PD.

Conclusions & inferences: Pneumodilation for recurrent symptoms after previous Heller myotomy is safe and has a modest success rate of 57%, using 30- and 35-mm balloons. Patients with recurrent symptoms after PD with 35-mm balloon are likely to also fail after subsequent dilation with a 40-mm balloon.

Keywords: Eckardt symptom sore; dysphagia; esophagus; lower esophageal sphincter; manometry.

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