Background: Esophagomyotomy is the mainstay of treatment for achalasia with proven long-term success. However, in patients with a significantly dilated esophagus, many advocate esophageal resection thus forgoing an esophagomyotomy. The purpose of this study is to determine the esophagomyotomy failure rate in patients with achalasia. Methods: A retrospective review of all patients with achalasia who underwent an esophagomyotomy from 1996 to 2006; 272 patients were divided into three groups based on their preoperative degree of esophageal dilation for comparison. The endpoint for esophagomyotomy failure was persistent symptoms requiring any intervention. Results: The preoperative characteristics were comparable except for the severely dilated esophagus patients who had a longer duration of preoperative symptoms. Group I (mild dilatation) had 162 patients with 7 failures requiring intervention. Group II (moderate dilatation) had 74 patients with 4 failures and group III (severe dilatation) had 36 patients with 5 patients requiring intervention. For the entire cohort, median follow-up was 37 months (range, 8 to 144 months). There was no statistically significant difference among the groups in the number of patients requiring reintervention. The overall esophagectomy rate was only 2%. However, there was a significantly higher (p = 0.02) esophagectomy rate in the severely dilated patients. Conclusions: The degree of esophageal dilatation associated with achalasia does not influence the success of an esophagomyotomy. Of the entire patient population in this study, only 6 patients required an esophagectomy. The majority of patients with the most severely dilated esophagus did not require an esophagectomy. Esophagomyotomy should be the first treatment option for patients with achalasia no matter what the degree of esophageal dilatation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine