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Dis Esophagus. 2002;15(2):171-9.

Long-term effects of myotomy and partial fundoplication for esophageal achalasia.

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Department of Surgery, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada.


Controversy persists in the surgical approach to treat esophageal achalasia. This investigation reports the long-term effects of esophageal myotomy and partial fundoplication in treating this disorder. From 1984 to 1998, 32 patients with achalasia underwent myotomy and partial fundoplication (Belsey Mark IV) using a left thoracotomy. The median follow up is 7.2 years. Assessments include clinical evaluation, esophagogram, radionuclide transit, manometry, 24-h pH, and endoscopy. There is no complication and no mortality. Preoperative assessment was compared with that in 0-3, 3-7, and 7-16 postoperative years. Clinically, the prevalence of dysphagia was decreased from 100% to 6%, 12%, and 13%, respectively (P < 0.001). Heartburn remains unchanged (P > 0.25). On radiology, the prevalence of barium stasis was decreased from 97% to 44%, 48%, and 47%, respectively (P=0.001), whereas a pseudo-diverticulum was observed in two-thirds of patients after operation (P=0.001). Percent radionuclide stasis at 2 min was measured as 70%, 17%, 20%, and 20%, respectively (P=0.001). Manometrically, lower esophageal sphincter (LES) gradient was decreased from 29 to 10, 9, and 9 mmHg, respectively (P=0.001). LES relaxation was improved from 41% preoperatively to 100% postoperatively at each postoperative period (P < 0.001). An abnormal acid exposure was observed in four patients after the operation. Endoscopy documented mucosal damage in three patients (P > 0.25). In conclusion, on long-term follow up, myotomy and partial fundoplication for achalasia relieve obstructive symptoms and improve esophageal emptying, and reduce LES gradient and improve LES relaxation. Acid reflux is recorded in 13% of patients and esophageal mucosal damage is identified in 11% of the patient population. A longer myotomy not covered by the fundoplication results in pseudodiverticulum formation and increased esophageal retention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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