Achalasia has been described following fundoplication and is attributed to vagal nerve damage during surgery. Similarly, other traumatic events to the distal esophagus may be linked to the development of achalasia. Operative and nonoperative trauma as a possible factor in the development of achalasia was studied. A retrospective analysis of patients with achalasia (n=64) at our institution was performed. Collected data included age, gender, symptoms, and history of operative and nonoperative traumatic events. Comparisons were made to a group of patients with similar symptoms but normal esophageal manometry (n=73). Achalasia was diagnosed by manometry in 125 patients over a 6-year period. All patients with complete medical records (n=64) were studied. A history of operative or nonoperative trauma to the upper gastrointestinal tract prior to the development of symptomatic achalasia was present in 16 of 64 (25%). Significantly fewer patients (9.5%) with symptoms of dysphagia, but normal manometry and upper endoscopy, had precedent trauma to the upper gastrointestinal tract (P &< 0.05). All cases of nonoperative trauma occurred in motor vehicle accidents. Cases of operative trauma included coronary artery bypass surgery (n=4), bariatric surgery (n=2), fundoplication (n=3), heart/lung transplantation (n=1), and others (n=5). Patients with proven achalasia and a history of trauma were more likely to have chest pain (RR, 4.5; P = 0.012) but less likely to have regurgitation (RR, 0.51; P = 0.01) or nausea/vomiting (RR, 0.0; P = 0.27) than those without a history of antecedent trauma. In this series, significantly more patients with achalasia had a history of preceding trauma than did patients with similar symptoms and normal esophageal manometry. Following trauma, patients may be at increased risk for developing achalasia, possibly from neuropathic dysfunction due to vagal nerve damage. Patients with posttraumatic achalasia may have symptoms which differ from those of other achalasia patients.
achalasia vagus nerve motor vehicle accident-2
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