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May 1993

Surgical Repair of Esophageal Perforation due to Pneumatic Dilatation for Achalasia: Is Myotomy Really Necessary?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, Providence.

Arch Surg. 1993;128(5):540-544. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1993.01420170074010

• Esophageal perforation is a rare complication of pneumatic dilatation for achalasia. The few clinical series reported in the literature recommend, under most circumstances, esophageal repair combined with esophagocardiomyotomy. However, the superiority of this technique over repair alone has never been proven. We reviewed our experience, since 1979, with six operative cases of esophageal perforation from pneumatic dilatation for achalasia. After débridement, the esophagus was repaired and, if possible, buttressed with a gastric fundal patch. There was only one late postoperative death due to sepsis and one upper gastrointestinal bleeding complication in our series. Follow-up (1 to 12 years) revealed no dysphagia in any of the five surviving patients and mild gastroesophageal reflux in two. From a review of the literature we found no reports of similarly treated patients experiencing recurrent symptoms of achalasia. In these acutely ill patients, our operative strategy is more feasible than repair and esophagocardiomyotomy and equally effective.

(Arch Surg. 1993;128:540-544)

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