To assess the effectiveness of transoral stapled diverticulum esophagostomy in relieving symptoms and decreasing outflow resistance at the pharyngoesophageal junction in patients with Zenker diverticulum.
Cohort study. From April 1, 1992, until May 31, 1996, the operation was attempted in 95 patients. The median follow-up was 23 months (range, 13-48 months).
Tertiary care university hospital.
There were 74 men and 21 women, with a median age of 64 years (age range, 37-92 years). All complained of dysphagia and pharyngo-oral regurgitation, and 18 (20%) suffered from recurrent aspiration pneumonia. The median size of the pouch measured by flexible endoscopy was 4 cm (range, 2.5-8 cm).
The septum between the diverticulum and the esophageal lumen was divided under general anesthesia using a linear endostapler introduced through a Weerda endoscope. In most patients, 2 applications of the endostapler with a modified anvil were used. Operative time averaged 23 minutes.
Main Outcome Measures
Morbidity, symptom score, patient's satisfaction, videofluorographic barium transit, hypopharyngeal intrabolus pressure, upper esophageal clearance of radioisotope.
A switch to open surgery was required in 3 patients (3.1%), due to difficult exposure of the common wall in 2 cases and a mucosal tear in the other. No postoperative morbidity or mortality was recorded. Oral feeding was started the following day and the median hospital stay was 3 days (range, 2-8 days). Five patients complained of persistent symptoms; 3 of them underwent another endosurgical operation, 1 underwent laser treatment by means of flexible endoscopy, and 1 eventually required open surgery. All patients are asymptomatic at the latest follow-up visit. Postoperative radiologic studies showed free flow of barium in all patients. Manometry showed a significant reduction of hypopharyngeal intrabolus pressure over preoperative values (P=.003). Radionuclide studies showed a significant reduction of upper esophageal residual activity at 1 minute compared with preoperative values (P=.006).
Endosurgical approach to hypopharyngeal diverticula larger than 2 cm is safe and effective. Symptom relief, elimination of the pouch, and decreased outflow resistance at the pharyngoesophageal junction can be obtained without morbidity and with a short hospital stay.