Background: Esophageal achalasia is an uncommon condition in children. Although many interventions exist for the management of this disorder, esophageal (Heller) myotomy offers one of the most durable treatments. Our institution sought to review patients undergoing Heller myotomy concentrating on preoperative clinical factors that might predict postoperative outcomes. Materials and methods: All patients from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2016, who underwent surgical treatment for achalasia at our tertiary pediatric hospital were identified and included in the study cohort. Electronic medical records for these patients were reviewed for clinical presentation variables, nonsurgical preoperative treatment, surgical approach, clinical response to surgery, need for postoperative treatment for ongoing symptoms, and high-resolution manometry (HRM) data. Results: Twenty-six patients were included in the study, and all underwent myotomy with partial fundoplication (median age: 14.4 y [interquartile range 11.6-15.5]). At a median follow-up of 9.75 mo (interquartile range 3.5-21 mo), 16 (61.5%) patients reported good resolution of their dysphagia symptoms with surgery alone. Two patients (7.7%) had perforation of the gastrointestinal tract requiring surgical intervention. Eight patients (30.8%) required additional treatment for achalasia, with 5 (19.2%) of these undergoing additional surgery or endoscopic treatment. Patients who had preoperative dilation did not have good resolution of their dysphagia (n = 2; P = 0.037). Two of four patients undergoing postoperative dilation had preoperative dilation. None of these patients underwent preoperative manometry. There was a statistically significant difference in the ages of patients who required postoperative intervention and those who did not (14.1 versus 15.2 y old, respectively; P = 0.043). In patients who reported improvement of gastroesophageal reflux disease/reflux type symptoms after Heller myotomy, lower esophageal residual pressure (29.1 versus 18.7 mmHg; P = 0.018) on preoperative HRM was significantly higher than in those who did not report improvement after surgery. Higher upper esophageal mean pressure (66.6 versus 47.8 mmHg; P = 0.05) also predicted good gastroesophageal reflux disease/reflux symptom response in a similar manner. Conclusions: Current analysis suggests that preoperative dilation should be used cautiously and older patients may have a better response to surgery without need for postoperative treatment. In addition, preoperative HRM can aid in counseling patients in the risk of ongoing symptoms after surgery and may aid in determining if a fundoplication should be completed at the index procedure. Further research is needed to delineate these factors. Level of evidence: Level III.
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