Use of a report card to evaluate outcomes of achalasia surgery: beyond the Eckardt score.

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Surgical endoscopy


washington; seattle; swedish cancer


BACKGROUND: Achalasia outcome is primarily defined using the Eckardt score with failure recognized as > 3. However, patients experience many changes after myotomy including new onset GERD, swallowing difficulties, and potential need for additional treatment. We aim to devise a comprehensive assessment tool to demonstrate the extent of patient-reported outcomes, objective changes, and need for re-interventions following myotomy.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of surgically treated primary achalasia patients. We identified 185 patients without prior foregut surgery who underwent either per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) or Heller myotomy from 2005 to 2017. Eight outcome measures in subjective, objective, and interventional categories formulated a global postoperative assessment tool. These outcomes included Eckardt score, Dakkak Dysphagia score, GERD-HRQL score, normalization of pH scores and IRP, esophagitis, timed barium clearance at 5 min, and the most invasive re-intervention performed.

RESULTS: Of 185 patients, achalasia subtypes included Type I = 42 (23%), II = 109 (59%), and III = 34 (18%). Patients underwent minimally invasive myotomy in 114 (62%), POEM in 71 (38%). Median proximal myotomy length was 4 cm (IQR 4-5) and distal 2 cm (IQR 2-2.5). Based on postoperative Eckardt score, 135/145 (93%) had successful treatment of achalasia. But, only 47/104 (45%) reported normal swallowing, and 78/108 (72%) had GERD-HRQL score ≤ 10. Objectively, IRP was normalized in 48/60 (80%), whereas timed barium clearance occurred in 51/84 (61%). No evidence of esophagitis was documented in 82/115 (71%). Postoperative normal DeMeester scores occurred in 38/76 (50%). No additional treatments were required in 110/139 (79%) of patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Use of the Eckardt score alone to assess outcomes after achalasia surgery shows outstanding results. Using patient-reported outcomes, objective measurements, re-intervention rates, organized into a report card provides a more comprehensive and informative view.

Clinical Institute


Clinical Institute

Digestive Health


Swedish Thoracic Surgery