SAN DIEGO – Gastric peroral endoscopic myotomy, a novel procedure for gastroparesis, restored gastric emptying in 30 refractory patients at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and elsewhere in the largest series to date for the technique.
Drug therapy had failed, and Botox injections and transpyloric stenting weren’t helping much. On gastric emptying scans (GES), patients had around 40% of solid meals in their stomachs at 4 hours. Their gastroparesis was related mostly to diabetes and postoperative complications, but about a quarter of the cases were idiopathic.
Twenty-six patients (87%) responded to gastric peroral endoscopic myotomy (G-POEM) during a median follow-up of 5.5 months. Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain resolved or improved in most. On repeat GES in 17 patients, emptying time normalized in about half and improved in a third. Overall, patients had 17% of solid meals in their stomachs at 4 hours. G-POEM took an average of 72 minutes, and patients were in the hospital for about 3 days. One patient in the series developed pneumoperitoneum, and another had a prepyloric ulcer.
“The problem with transpyloric stents is that they migrate,” said investigator Dr. Mouen A. Khashab, director of therapeutic endoscopy at Johns Hopkins University. “G-POEM offers a permanent solution with few side effects. You have to be good at doing POEM in the esophagus first, as a prerequisite.”
In an interview at the annual Digestive Disease Week, Dr. Khashab explained the procedure in detail, as well as how he incorporates it into his practice and the patient population most likely to benefit.