Laparoscopic Heller myotomy is a first-line treatment for achalasia. To improve outcomes after myotomy and to determine if poor early results predict later outcomes, emergency department (ED) visits and readmissions within 60 days following laparoscopic Heller myotomy were studied. Since 1992, 352 patients have undergone laparoscopic Heller myotomy and are followed through a prospectively maintained registry. Causes of ED visits and readmissions within 60 days after myotomy were determined. Patients scored their symptoms of achalasia before myotomy and at last follow-up; scores were compared to determine if the reasons leading to ED visits and/or readmissions impacted long-term outcome after myotomy. Fourteen (4%) patients had ED visits, and 18 (5%) patients had readmissions within 60 days following myotomy. Sixty-four percent of ED visits were for dysphagia/vomiting and 36% were for abdominal/chest pain, while 37% of readmissions were for dysphagia/vomiting. Pneumonia was complicated by empyema in four patients, all without leaks; two patients expired. Despite ED visits/readmissions, achalasia symptom (e.g., dysphagia, regurgitation, choking, heartburn, and chest pain) frequency and severity scores improved after myotomy (p∈<∈0.05 for all). ED visits and readmissions are infrequent following laparoscopic Heller myotomy. ED visits were generally due to complaints related to achalasia or edema after myotomy, while readmissions were generally related to complications of operative intervention or chronic ill health. Despite ED visits or readmissions early after myotomy, symptoms of achalasia are well palliated by myotomy long-term.
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