Per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) is a promising minimally invasive therapy in the treatment of achalasia and other esophageal motility disorders. A concern surrounding POEM is the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) postoperatively. This study was designed to report outcomes and identify risk factors for the development of postoperative GERD.
Patients who underwent POEM between January 1, 2015 and December 12, 2019 were prospectively followed in an Institutional Review Board approved database. All patients were invited for a full comprehensive workup 6 months post-POEM including symptom scores, pH testing, manometry and esophagogastroduodenoscopy. In a retrospective review of this database, those who developed postoperative GERD were compared with those who did not.
There were 82 patients that met study criteria (median age 59). Indications for POEM include 35 type I achalasia, 16 type II achalasia, 21 type III achalasia and other spastic esophageal motility disorders, and 10 esophagogastric junction outflow obstruction. Mean Eckardt scores post-POEM were 2.67 compared with 6.79 pre-POEM (P<0.05). Mean integrated relaxation pressure improvement decreased from 27 to 13.1 (P14.7) with pH testing off-medications or the presence of Grade C/D esophagitis on endoscopy. Thirty-five percent (29/82) of patients developed postoperative GERD following POEM. Negative predictive factors for the development of postoperative GERD include myotomy length and normal body mass index (BMI). Obesity (BMI>30) was a positive predictive risk factor in the development of GERD (P=0.029).
POEM provides symptomatic relief and reduced Eckardt scores in patient with achalasia and other esophageal motility disorders. Patients who undergo POEM are at risk for developing gastroesophageal reflux disease especially in obese patients.