Viet Nam News
HCM CITY— Bình Dân Hospital in HCM City performed its first ever per-oral endoscopic myotomy on three patients with achalasia, a serious condition affecting the oesophagus.
The new technique involves inserting an endoscope through the patient’s mouth and down the throat to create an incision in the inside lining of the oesophagus and cut the muscle at the lower end of the oesophageal sphincter.
Though POEM for treating achalasia was first performed in Japan in 2008, hospitals in Việt Nam have been doing it only for a few years now.
The three patients were from Bình Phước and Đồng Nai Provinces.
The Bình Phước patient was hospitalised with difficulty swallowing, nausea and epigastric pains after eating for more than a year and loss of weight.
The Đồng Nai patient choked on food and had chest pain for four months.
According to the hospital, achalasia left untreated could cause complications such as oesophagus ulceration, pneumonia, oesophageal carcinoma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and malnutrition.
Scientists have found a relationship between achalasia and infections, autoimmune diseases and genes, but are yet to discover what actually causes it.
Dr Nguyễn Ngọc Tuấn, head of the digestive disease endoscopy department, said: “The disease could be treated without surgery through medication, insertion of a balloon into the oesophageal sphincter to enlarge its opening or a botulinum toxin injection.
“[But] compared to these treatments, POEM is quick and efficient. Its relapse rate is lower.”
Speaking at a conference on POEM for treatment of achalasia held by Bình Dân Hospital on Friday, Joo Young Cho of South Korean CHA University’s Digestive Disease Centre, said the indications for POEM include failed conventional treatments of achalasia, end-stage achalasia and other spastic motility disorders.
In January the HCM City University Medical Centre reported that it had performed its first ever minimally invasive endoscopic surgery on a patient with achalasia.
Bạch Mai Hospital in Hà Nội started to perform POEM last June.
Hospitals in Việt Nam began performing POEM only a few years ago because it requires advanced machinery and doctors to have mastery over endoscopic techniques. — VNS