Richmond, Va. (Feb. 26, 2018) – HCA Virginia’s Parham Doctors’ Hospital is now offering Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy, or POEM, as a treatment option for achalasia.

Achalasia is a rare disorder of the muscle of the esophagus that causes difficulty swallowing solids, discomfort or pain in the chest, coughing, heartburn, weight loss and vomiting or regurgitating food or liquid. Achalasia is caused when the nerves in the lower esophageal tube and the lower esophageal sphincter do not work correctly.

“We are excited to offer this new treatment option to patients at Parham Doctors’ Hospital,” said Dr. Matthew Brengman, medical director for the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program at Parham Doctors’ Hospital. “POEM provides the opportunity for improved outcomes and provides an overall better surgical experience for our patients.”

Traditionally, achalasia can be treated one of four ways, including pneumatic dilation, which entails inserting a cylinder-shaped balloon near the lower esophageal sphincter; laparoscopic heller myotomoy surgery, where the esophageal sphincter is cut; botulinum toxin, which involves injecting botulinum toxin to help relax the sphincter; and medication. The goal of treating achalasia is to make it easier for the lower esophageal sphincter to open.

“This new technique, POEM, was perfected in Asia and we are excited to be one of the first to offer this procedure in Central Virginia,” said Dr. Michael Farrell, gastroenterologist at Parham Doctors’ Hospital. “We are offering a collaborative approach with both a surgeon and gastroenterologist involved, providing complimentary skill sets to provide our patients with the best care possible.”

Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy is a new treatment option and is considered an important advancement in gastroesophageal surgery. According to Brengman, compared to traditional techniques, POEM offers benefits such as fewer complications, minimal discomfort after surgery, improved outcomes, reduction in repeat surgeries, and successful treatment in cases where other treatment options failed.

For more information regarding POEM, or to schedule a consult with Dr. Brengman to see if this treatment could be right for your condition, contact his practice, Advanced Surgical Partners of Virginia, at (804) 360-0600.


About HCA Virginia…As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive provider network, HCA Virginia Health System operates 14 hospitals, 29 outpatient centers, five freestanding emergency rooms, and two urgent care centers and is affiliated with 3,000 physicians. It is one of Virginia’s largest employers, provides $251.6 million in uncompensated care and pays $82.3 million in state and local taxes each year. HCA Virginia includes five imaging centers, three outpatient surgery centers, four freestanding emergency rooms, and seven hospitals – Chippenham, Henrico Doctors’, John Randolph, Johnston-Willis, Parham Doctors’, Retreat Doctors’, and Spotsylvania Regional.