01.03.2012 | Ausgabe 3/2012
Transesophageal endoscopic myotomy for achalasia: recognizing potential pitfalls before clinical application
- Mahmoud Abu Gazala, Abed Khalaila, Noam Shussman, Samir Abu Gazala, Ram Elazary, Dalit Amar, David Kushnir, Oleg Ponomernco, Gideon Zamir, Avraham I. Rivkind, Yoav Mintz
Laparoscopic Heller esophagomyotomy is the standard of care for achalasia treatment. This procedure, although effective, must be performed with the patient under general anesthesia and is associated with several serious potential complications. The authors aimed to develop a method of performing transesophageal endoscopic esophagomyotomy (TEEM) that would obviate the need for both general anesthesia and external incisions while offering lower intra- and postoperative complications.
The TEEM procedure was performed on eight pigs. For six of the pigs, the procedure aimed at survival. A mid-esophageal mucosal incision was performed using an endoscope, and a submucosal plane was developed. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle fibers were clearly visualized and divided. The mucosal incision was closed using fibrin sealant. After 2 weeks of survival, a gastrografin swallow study and necropsy were performed.
The TEEM procedure was performed successfully in all eight porcine models. The myotomy included the LES fibers and extended 4 to 6 cm proximally to the esophagus. The proximal gastric muscle was divided up to 1 to 2 cm. No injuries to the abdominal or mediastinal structures occurred. One pig died on postoperative day 1 due to an unrecognized pneumothorax. Two pigs had ischemic ulcers at the myotomy site. The last three pigs had an uneventful recovery. The mucosal incision site healed completely in all the survived pigs, and except for the pig with mediastinal sepsis, all ate heartily and gained weight as expected.
The TEEM procedure is technically feasible. Due to the morbidity encountered in the first three pigs, the reported technique was modified to include a slimmer endoscope, a shorter tunnel, and a partial-thickness myotomy. These changes together with an understanding of the pitfalls involved in this procedure led to successful results for the next three pigs. Nevertheless, the authors believe that TEEM is not yet ready for prime time. Perfection of the technique and development of dedicated instruments are mandatory before safe translation of this method to human patients.