Blown-out myotomy: an adverse event of laparoscopic Heller myotomy and peroral endoscopic myotomy for achalasia

Joseph R. Triggs*, Amanda J. Krause, Dustin A. Carlson, Erica N. Donnan, Ryan A.J. Campagna, Anand S. Jain, Peter J. Kahrilas, Eric S. Hungness, John E. Pandolfino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Although laparoscopic Heller myotomy (LHM) or peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) is highly effective, 10% to 20% of patients with achalasia remain symptomatic after treatment. In evaluating such patients, we have observed a pattern of failure associated with a pseudodiverticulum, or blown-out myotomy (BOM), in the distal esophagus. We aimed to assess risk factors and patient-reported outcomes associated with a BOM. Methods: We reviewed our manometry database for patients with achalasia previously treated with LHM or POEM. We included patients who had a post-treatment esophagram within 1 year of their follow-up manometry. A BOM was defined radiographically as a wide-mouthed outpouching (>50% increase in esophageal diameter) in the area of the myotomy. Results: One hundred twenty-nine patients with achalasia who underwent treatment were included; 23 (17.8%) had a BOM. Comparing patients with a BOM with those without, post-treatment Eckardt scores were significantly greater (5 vs 2, P =.002), type III achalasia was more common (39.1% vs 14.2%, P =.005), and LHM was more common than POEM (73.9% vs 26.1%, P =.013). The integrated relaxation pressure was also significantly greater in the BOM group (15.0 mm Hg vs 11.0 mm Hg, P =.025). Conclusions: BOM is a common adverse event after myotomy for achalasia but is not seen after pneumatic dilation. Pretreatment type III achalasia, LHM as opposed to POEM, and a greater post-treatment integrated relaxation pressure were risk factors for developing a BOM. We speculate that esophageal wall strain in the area weakened by myotomy, whether from residual spastic contractility or continued esophageal outflow obstruction, may be the underlying mechanism of BOM development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-868.e1
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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