Current Approach to the Treatment of Achalasia
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- Cheatham, J.G. & Wong, R.K.H. Curr Gastroenterol Rep (2011) 13: 219. doi:10.1007/s11894-011-0190-z
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Achalasia is a primary esophageal motility disorder characterized by aperistalsis and incomplete or absent relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The cause of the disease remains elusive and there is no intervention that improves the esophageal body function. Currently, treatment options focus on palliation of symptoms by reducing the LES pressure. The most effective and well-tolerated treatments continue to be the laparoscopic Heller myotomy and endoscopic pneumatic dilation; however, newer techniques (eg, peroral endoscopic myotomy and self-expanding metal stents) show promise. Botulinum toxin and pharmacologic therapy are reserved for those who are unable to undergo more effective therapies. Treatment options should be tailored to the patient, using current predictors of outcome such as the patient’s age and post-treatment LES pressures. The aim of this article is to highlight current literature and provide an up-to-date approach to the treatment of achalasia.