Article of interest: Endoscopic or Surgical Myotomy in Patients with Idiopathic Achalasia

One discussion this week included a question about the patient outcomes of those undergoing the POEM procedure.


Werner YB, Hakanson B, Martinek J, et al. Endoscopic or Surgical Myotomy in Patients with Idiopathic Achalasia. N Engl J Med. 2019;381(23):2219–2229.

Full-text for Emory users.

Results: A total of 221 patients were randomly assigned to undergo either POEM (112 patients) or LHM plus Dor’s fundoplication (109 patients). Clinical success at the 2-year follow-up was observed in 83.0% of patients in the POEM group and 81.7% of patients in the LHM group (difference, 1.4 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], −8.7 to 11.4; P=0.007 for noninferiority). Serious adverse events occurred in 2.7% of patients in the POEM group and 7.3% of patients in the LHM group. Improvement in esophageal function from baseline to 24 months, as assessed by measurement of the integrated relaxation pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, did not differ significantly between the treatment groups (difference, −0.75 mm Hg; 95% CI, −2.26 to 0.76), nor did improvement in the score on the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index (difference, 0.14 points; 95% CI, −4.01 to 4.28). At 3 months, 57% of patients in the POEM group and 20% of patients in the LHM group had reflux esophagitis, as assessed by endoscopy; at 24 months, the corresponding percentages were 44% and 29%.

Figure 3_NEJM 2019

Figure 3. Rates of Clinical Success over Time and Results of the Primary Analysis.

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