Post-Surgical Quality of Life, Psychological State and what Patients Think about the Effectiveness of Heller Myotomy in the Treatment of Achalasia

Telma Vale-Fonseca, Luis Ferreira-Pinto, Margarida Figueiredo-Braga, Silvestre Carneiro


Introduction: The disruption of esophageal motility that characterizes achalasia typically provokes dysphagia, pain, loss of weight and malnutrition. Therefore, patients frequently report a reduction in quality of life and negative emotional states. Laparoscopic Heller myotomy proved to be an effective therapy, enabling the resumption of good quality of life.
Material and Methods: The authors studied 45 patients previously submitted to laparoscopic Heller myotomy. Postoperative evaluation was performed using a customized version of the achalasia disease-specific quality of life questionnaire. Quality of life and the presence of depressive and anxiety symptoms were assessed using the Portuguese versions of the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36 and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
Results: Thirty-one patients responded to the survey. Dysphagia was the main clinical symptom before surgery. A clear improvement in dysphagia, regurgitation, pain and weight loss was found after surgery (p < 0.001). The Mental Health domain of SF-36 presented a Pearson correlation coefficient of -0.689 with HADS-D and of -0.557 with HADS-A (p < 0.001 and p = 0.002, respectively).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the Heller myotomy is associated with a good quality of life in patients with achalasia and strengthens the evidence that this is a safe and reliable procedure.


Anxiety; Depression; Digestive System Surgical Procedures; Esophageal Achalasia; Laparoscopy; Quality of life.

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