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Management of Esophageal Dysphagia in Chagas Disease.

Dysphagia 2021 June
Chagas disease, caused by the infection of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, has clinical consequences in the heart and digestive tract. The most important changes in the digestive tract occur in the esophagus (megaesophagus) and colon (megacolon). Esophageal dysfunction in Chagas disease results from damage of the esophageal myenteric plexus, with loss of esophageal peristalsis, partial or absent lower esophageal sphincter relaxation, and megaesophagus, which characterizes secondary esophageal achalasia. The treatment options for the disease are similar to those for idiopathic achalasia, consisting of diet and behavior changes, drugs, botulinum toxin, peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM), pneumatic dilation of the lower esophageal sphincter, laparoscopic Heller myotomy, and esophagectomy. Chagas disease causes a life-threatening cardiopathy, and this should be considered when choosing the most appropriate treatment for the disease. While some options are palliative, for temporary relief of dysphagia (such as drugs, botulinum toxin, and pneumatic dilation), other therapies provide a long-term benefit. In this case, POEM stands out as a modern and successful strategy, with good results in more than 90% of the patients. Esophagectomy is the option in Chagas disease patients with advanced megaesophagus, despite the increased risk of complications. In these cases, peroral endoscopic myotomy may be an option, which needs further evaluation.

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