Achalasia cardia is a primary motor disorder of the esophagus characterized by insufficient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation and loss of esophageal peristalsis.
Achalasia is a condition that affects the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. In individuals with achalasia, the esophagus does not work properly. Food may become trapped in it. This condition can be related to damage to nerves in the esophagus. It can also be caused by damage to the lower esophageal sphincter. The lower esophageal sphincter is a valve that closes off the esophagus from the stomach.
Causes of Achalasia
Achalasia can happen for different reasons. It can be difficult for doctors to point out specific causes. This condition may be hereditary, or it may be caused by an autoimmune condition, where the body attacks itself. Degeneration of nerves in the esophagus often contributes to the advanced symptoms of the condition.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to achalasia. Cancer of the esophagus is one of these conditions. Another is a rare parasitic infection called Chagas disease.
Achalasia usually occurs later in life. Individuals middle-aged and older are at higher risk for the condition. Achalasia is also more common in people with a family history of the condition and people with autoimmune disorders.
Symptoms of Achalasia
People with achalasia will often have trouble swallowing, more for liquids that for solids or feel like food is stuck in the esophagus. This is also known as dysphagia. This symptom can cause coughing and raises the risk of aspiration, i.e. inhaling or choking on food. Other symptoms include:
- pain or discomfort in the chest
- weight loss
- intense pain or discomfort after eating
People with achalasia can also experience regurgitation or backflow. However, these can be symptoms of other gastrological conditions such as acid reflux.
Diagnosis of Achalasia
To diagnose achalasia, doctors may use three common tests:
- Esophageal manometry. This involves having a tube placed in your esophagus while you swallow. The tube records the muscle activity and makes certain everything is working correctly.
- An X-ray with a radio-opaque dye (Barium- swallow)
Treatment of Achalasia by Dr. Dinesh Jain
- Endoscopy guided balloon dilatation of the lower end of esophagus at the gastroesophageal junction.
- Laparoscopic Esophagomyotomy is a type of surgery used to help people with achalasia. The great majority of esophagomyotomy procedures are successful (80-90%). However, some patients may have problems afterward with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. This can cause heartburn that can be treated with medicines.
Surgery for Achalasia by Dr. Dinesh Jain
To date Dr. Jain has treated 22 cases of achalasia using Laparoscopic Esophagomyotomy.
All the patients are doing good and are symptom free.