Background: The short-term success of peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) is well documented but the durability of the operation is questioned. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of the POEM procedure for esophageal motility disorders in a large cohort in which all patients had at least 5 years of follow-up.
Methods: All patients from a single center who underwent a POEM between October 2010 and September 2014 were followed for long-term clinical outcomes. Postoperative Eckardt symptom scores of short term and ≥ 5 years were collected through phone interview. Clinical success was defined as an Eckardt score < 3. Overall success was defined as Eckardt score < 3 and freedom from additional interventions.
Results: Of 138 patients, 100 patients were available for follow-up (mean age 56, 52% male). The indication for operation was achalasia in 94. The mean follow-up duration was 75 months (range: 60-106 months). Dysphagia was improved in 91% of patients. Long-term overall success was achieved in 79% of patients (80% of achalasia patients, 67% of DES patients). Preoperative mean Eckardt score was 6. At 6 months, it was 1, and at 75 months, it was 2 (p = 0.204). Five-year freedom from intervention was 96%. Overall, 7 patients had additional treatments: 1 balloon dilation (35 mm), 4 laparoscopic Heller myotomy, and 2 redo POEM at a mean of 51 months post-POEM. Ninety-three percent expressed complete satisfaction with POEM.
Conclusion: A multitude of studies has shown the early benefits of POEM. Here, we show that nearly 80% of patients report clinical success with no significant decrement in symptom scores between their short- and long-term follow-up. Clearly POEM is an effective option for achalasia with durable long-term treatment efficacy.
Keywords: Achalasia; Endoscopic myotomy; Endoscopic surgery; Esophageal myotomy; Long-term outcomes; POEM.
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