We aimed to assess the short-term outcomes of per-oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) compared with laparoscopic Heller myotomy (LHM) for achalasia through a meta-analysis of nonrandomized comparative studies.
We searched PubMed, Embase, Medline, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar for studies that compared POEM and LHM for achalasia and were published between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2014. The Methodological Index for Nonrandomized Studies (MINORS) was used to evaluate the quality of the studies. Random- and fixed-effects meta-analytical models were used, and between-study heterogeneity was assessed.
Four nonrandomized comparative studies that included 317 patients (125 in the POEM group and 192 in the LHM group) met our research criteria and were assessed. There were no differences between the POEM and LHM groups in terms of sex, preoperative Eckhart score, length of myotomy, operation time, length of hospital stay, and complications. The patients in the POEM group were older than those in the LHM group (MD =2.81, 95% CI 0.27–5.35; P = 0.03) with high between-study homogeneity (χ2 = 1.96, df = 2, I2 = 0%; P = 0.38). The patients in the POEM group had a lower Eckardt score after surgery compared with those in the LHM group (MD = −0.30, 95% CI −0.42 to −0.18; P < 0.001) with high between-study homogeneity (χ2 = 0.00, df = 1, I2 = 0%; P = 1.00).
The efficacy and safety of POEM appear to be comparable to those of LHM. Multicenter and randomized trials with larger sample size are needed to further compare the efficacy and safety of POEM and LHM for the treatment of achalasia.