, Volume 54, Issue 11, pp 2303-2311
Date: 24 Dec 2008

Meta-Analysis of Randomized and Controlled Treatment Trials for Achalasia

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Pharmacological therapy, botulinum toxin injection, pneumatic dilatation, and surgical myotomy are the primary therapeutic modalities for achalasia, for which laparoscopic myotomy is recommended as state-of-the-art therapy. However, its efficacy and safety remain unclear compared with other approaches in the treatment of achalasia. We searched electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials, LILACS-Latin American, Caribbean health science literature, and Science Citation Index Expanded) for randomized controlled trials to evaluate which therapeutic measures are temporary and reversible and which measures are definitive and effective by pooling data including remission rate, relapse rate, complications, and adverse effects. Seventeen studies with 761 patients met our inclusion criteria. There was better remission rate in pneumatic dilation than in botulinum toxin injection for initial intervention [relative risk (RR) 2.20, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.51–3.20], Pneumatic dilation had lower relapse rate than did botulinum toxin injection (RR 0.12, 95% CI 0.04–0.32). Compared with pneumatic dilation, laparoscopic myotomy further increased remission rate (RR 1.48, 95% CI 1.48–1.87), and reduced clinical relapse rate (RR 0.14, 95% CI 0.04–0.58), and there was no difference in complication rate (RR 1.48, 95% CI 0.37–5.99). Based on limited randomized and controlled trials, laparoscopic myotomy is the preferred method for patients with achalasia. Future trials should investigate whether laparoscopic myotomy combined with different modalities of fundoplication is superior to isolated laparoscopic myotomy.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10620-009-0869-2