Clinical outcomes five years after POEM for treatment of primary esophageal motility disorders.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Surgical endoscopy


BACKGROUND: Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) is a novel operation for the treatment of achalasia and other esophageal motility disorders. While POEM has shown excellent short-term safety and efficacy, the long-term symptomatic outcomes after the procedure are unknown.

METHODS: Patients from a single center that underwent POEM for treatment of esophageal motility orders and were greater than 5 years removed from their operation were studied. Patients were contacted to assess current symptoms and encouraged to undergo repeat endoscopy for objective follow-up.

RESULTS: Thirty-six patients underwent POEM from October, 2010 to February, 2012 and current symptom scores were obtained from 29 patients at median 65-month follow-up. In the 23 patients with achalasia, Eckardt scores were significantly improved from preoperative baseline (mean current 1.7 vs. preoperative 6.4, p < 0.001). Nineteen patients (83%) with achalasia had a symptomatic success (Eckardt ≤3) and none required retreatment for symptoms. Eckardt scores were dramatically improved at 6 months and maintained at 2 years; however, there was a small but significant worsening of symptoms between 2 and 5-years. Of the five patients with EGJ outflow obstruction, all had current Eckardt scores ≤3 but two needed reintervention for persistent or recurrent symptoms, one with a laparoscopic Heller myotomy and another with an endoscopic cricomyotomy and proximal esophageal myotomy extension. At 6-month follow-up, repeat manometry showed decreased EGJ relaxation pressures and esophagram demonstrated improved emptying. 24-h pH monitoring showed abnormal distal esophageal acid exposure in 38% of patients. Fifteen patients underwent endoscopy at 5-years, revealing erosive esophagitis in two (13%), new hiatal hernia in two, and new non-dysplastic Barrett's esophagus in one. The patient with Barrett's underwent a subsequent laparoscopic hiatal hernia repair and Toupet fundoplication.

CONCLUSIONS: POEM resulted in a successful palliation of symptoms in the majority of patients after 5 years, though these results emphasize the importance of long-term follow-up in all patients.

Clinical Institute

Digestive Health

Clinical Institute