Background: Per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) has emerged as a promising option for the treatment of achalasia. This study assessed POEM training process, outcomes, and improvement in quality of life after POEM performed by an interventional endoscopist (mentor) with trainees. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of data for patients who underwent POEM with involvement of trainees. Trainees were trained in performing mucosotomy, submucosal dissection, creating submucosal tunnel, identifying gastroesophageal junction, myotomy, and closure of mucosal incision in a step-by-step fashion. Trainees’ performance on each step was evaluated by the mentor based on several key points in each step. The short form 36 (SF36) was obtained before and certain times after the primary POEM procedure was performed. Results: Sixty-two patients, 26 males and 36 females with a mean age of 59 years, who underwent POEM were enrolled. A checklist included all related items for each step was established. All trainees obtained competence within 6 cases for each step. 61/62 (98.3%) patients had a significant improvement in the Eckardt’s score post POEM: 9.3 ± 1.5 prior to POEM and 2.6 ± 1.2 after the POEM (P = 0.001) and a decrease in mean lower esophageal sphincter pressure (LES): pre- and post-procedure mean LES pressures were 28.5 ± 11.4 and 12.1 ± 4.5 mmHg, respectively (P = 0.001). The SF-36 questionnaire demonstrated a significant improvement in quality of life and comparable with those without trainees in other studies. Conclusion: This preliminary study showed for the first time that training for POEM can be performed in a step-by-step fashion, learning mucosal incision, submucosal dissection, myotomy, and mucosal incision closure from an expert interventional endoscopist without increasing adverse events. The checklist for each step could be used as an important guide in training POEM. The outcomes of POEM in this study were similar to those reported by others without trainees. Further multiple center studies are needed to verify this training process and to establish a formal training protocol.
- Quality of life assessment
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