An extended proximal esophageal myotomy is necessary to normalize EGJ distensibility during Heller myotomy for achalasia, but not POEM

Ezra N. Teitelbaum, Nathaniel J. Soper, John E. Pandolfino, Peter J. Kahrilas, Lubomyr Boris, Frédéric Nicodème, Zhiyue Lin, Eric S. Hungness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: For laparoscopic Heller myotomy (LHM), the optimal myotomy length proximal to the esophagogastric junction (EGJ) is unknown. In this study, we used a functional lumen imaging probe (FLIP) to measure EGJ distensibility changes resulting from variable proximal myotomy lengths during LHM and peroral esophageal myotomy (POEM).

Methods: Distensibility index (DI) (defined as the minimum cross-sectional area at the EGJ divided by pressure) was measured with FLIP after each operative step. During LHM and POEM, each patient’s myotomy was performed in two stages: first, a myotomy ablating only the EGJ complex was created (EGJ-M), extending from 2 cm proximal to the EGJ, to 3 cm distal to it. Next, the myotomy was lengthened 4 cm further cephalad to create an extended proximal myotomy (EP-M).

Results: Measurements were performed in 12 patients undergoing LHM and 19 undergoing POEM. LHM resulted in an overall increase in DI (1.6 ± 1 vs. 6.3 ± 3.4 mm2/mmHg, p < 0.001). Creation of an EGJ-M resulted in a small increase (1.6–2.3 mm2/mmHg, p < 0.01) and extension to an EP-M resulted in a larger increase (2.3–4.9 mm2/mmHg, p < 0.001). This effect was consistent, with 11 (92 %) patients experiencing a larger increase after EP-M than after EGJ-M. Fundoplication resulted in a decrease in DI and deinsufflation an increase. POEM resulted in an increase in DI (1.3 ± 1 vs. 9.2 ± 3.9 mm2/mmHg, p < 0.001). Both creation of the submucosal tunnel and performing an EGJ-M increased DI, whereas lengthening of the myotomy to an EP-M had no additional effect. POEM resulted in a larger overall increase from baseline than LHM (7.9 ± 3.5 vs. 4.7 ± 3.3 mm2/mmHg, p < 0.05).

Conclusions: During LHM, an EP-M was necessary to normalize distensibility, whereas during POEM, a myotomy confined to the EGJ complex was sufficient. In this cohort, POEM resulted in a larger overall increase in EGJ distensibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2840-2847
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Achalasia
  • Esophageal physiology
  • Functional lumen imaging probe
  • Laparoscopic Heller myotomy
  • Peroral endoscopic myotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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