Controversies in management of achalasia

Marco G Patti, Piero M Fisichella
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery 2014, 18 (9): 1705-9

BACKGROUND: Esophageal achalasia is a primary motility disorder of unknown etiology. It is characterized by lack of esophageal peristalsis and failure of the lower esophageal sphincter to relax appropriately in response to swallowing. The goal of treatment is to improve esophageal emptying and patient's symptoms by decreasing the functional obstruction at the level of the gastroesophageal junction. This can be accomplished by either endoscopic modalities (intra-sphincteric injection of botulinum toxin, pneumatic dilatation, per oral endoscopic myotomy) or by a laparoscopic Heller myotomy.

RESULTS: Review of the current literature suggests that a laparoscopic Heller myotomy should be considered today the primary form of treatment for achalasia and recommends a treatment algorithm for this disease.

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