Achalasia is a primary esophageal motility disorder characterized by the absence of esophageal peristalsis and impaired relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in response to swallowing. The LES is hypertensive in about 50% of patients. These abnormalities cause a functional obstruction at the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ)...
Symptoms of achalasia include the following:
Dysphagia (most common)
The goal of therapy for achalasia is to relieve symptoms by eliminating the outflow resistance caused by the hypertensive and nonrelaxing LES.
Pharmacologic and other nonsurgical treatments include the following:
Administration of calcium channel blockers and nitrates decrease LES pressure (primarily in elderly patients who cannot undergo pneumatic dilatation or surgery)
Endoscopic intrasphincteric injection of botulinum toxin to block acetylcholine release at the level of the LES (mainly in elderly patients who are poor candidates for dilatation or surgery)
Surgical treatment includes the following:
Laparoscopic Heller myotomy, preferably with anterior (Dor; more common) or posterior (Toupet) partial fundoplication
Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM)
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