ACHALASIA OVERVIEW

 

Achalasia is a disorder of the esophagus that affects 1 in every 100,000 people.  In achalasia, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to function properly, resulting in the prevention of food and liquid from moving into the stomach.

Common symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, a feeling of food or liquid being stuck in the esophagus, regurgitation, chest pain, heartburn, feeling of fullness, hiccups and weight loss. The disorder can progress over time, prompting patients to seek medical attention.

Diagnosis is typically based on medical history, symptoms, x-rays, barium swallow test, esophageal manometry and endoscopy.

Some treatments found to be effective in certain cases include medication, balloon dilation, myotopy, peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM), and botulinum toxin injections. Currently, there is no cure for achalasia.