Background: We report our initial experience using operative esophageal manometry as an adjunct to endoscopy to determine the completeness of esophagogastric high-pressure zone (HPZ) obliteration during laparoscopic Heller myotomy. Methods: Between July 1997 and October 1998, we performed laparoscopic Heller myotomies in 20 patients (eight male, 12 female; median age, 41 years). Mean duration of symptoms was 3.2 ± 2.6 years (r = 0.5-11), and 45% of the patients had received prior dilation or toxin injection. A 16- channel esophageal manometry catheter was placed prior to anesthesia, with sites crossing the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). An endoscope was passed intraoperatively to localize the squamocolumnar junction, and the myotomy was performed. While the translucency was imaged in the area of the incision, we determined the adequacy of myotomy by visual assessment of LES and gastric cardia opening in response to endoscopic air insufflation. Manometry was then performed to detect any potential residual high pressure at the myotomized esophagogastric junction (EGJ). If it was found, the locus of persistent pressure was identified by probing along the myotomy, and residual muscle fibers were cut to yield a minimum pressure at the EGJ. Results: A persistent HPZ was identified after the initial myotomy in 10 of 20 patients (50%). A Dor fundoplasty completed the operation. The mean operating time was 2.6 ± 0.5 h (median, 2.5; r = 2-3.5 h), and the mean hospital stay was 1.6 ± 1 days (median, 1, r = 1-5 days). The mean LES pressure was 2 ± 3 mmHg immediately postmyotomy (p < 0.001 compared with preoperative value). Of 20 patients, only two have reported recurrence of dysphagia 10%). One had a recurrent HPZ on manometry, and one developed esophagitis, which resolved with omeprazole. Conclusions: Our initial experience suggests that operative esophageal manometry is a useful adjunct to upper endoscopy during laparoscopic Heller myotomy, quantitatively assuring obliteration of the nonrelaxing LES and HPZ.
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