FAQs about Swallowing Disorders

These include issues related to tearing of the esophagus, acid reflux, or respiratory conditions caused by food traveling up your esophagus and into your windpipe. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. Achalasia is a serious condition that affects your esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a muscular ring that closes off the esophagus from the stomach. If you have achalasia, your LES fails to open up during swallowing, which it’s supposed to do.

Living with Achalasia

After surgery or pneumatic dilatation, proton pump inhibitors are required to prevent reflux damage by inhibiting gastric acid secretion, and foods that can aggravate reflux, including ketchup, citrus, chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine, may need to be avoided. Antireflux surgery has been shown to be very effective at alleviating symptoms in 88% to 95% of patients, with excellent patient satisfaction, in both short and long term studies[7-9]. These excellent results include patients with complicated GERD, such as those with large hiatal hernias, refractory esophagitis and peptic strictures. In addition to symptomatic improvement, the effectiveness of LARS has been objectively confirmed with 24-h pH monitoring, which clearly demonstrates excellent control of esophageal acid exposure more than five years after surgery[8]. When compared to medical therapy, surgical therapy has proven to be superior.

The articulating wrists of the robotic system enable the surgeon to operate in the narrow field around the thoracic esophagus. Because robotic instruments have wrists, the operative field is not obstructed by the instrument, as happens with laparoscopic surgery, allowing for better visualization. This not only allows for proper extension of the myotomy but also lengthens the intraabdominal portion of the esophagus, which, with the addition of a fundoplication, significantly decreases the risk of postoperative gastroesophageal reflux.

Balloon dilation, although a good temporary treatment for achalasia, is not superior to surgery. Esophageal dilatations must be performed in a center with access to surgeons specially trained in esophageal surgery. If a perforation occurs without access to adequate treatment, the results can be catastrophic. Botulinum toxin should be reserved for elderly or high-risk patients who are poor candidates for dilatation or surgery.

Your doctor can often find out the cause of esophageal spasm from your medical history by asking you a series of questions. These include questions about what foods or liquids trigger symptoms, where it feels like food gets stuck, other symptoms or conditions you may have, and whether you are taking medicines for them. The cause of esophageal spasm is unknown. Many doctors believe it results from a disruption of the nerve activity that coordinates the swallowing action of the esophagus.

Symptoms were evaluated by a structured clinical questionnaire. Objective assessment was performed by ambulatory 24-h esophageal pH monitoring and endoscopy. Esophageal sensitivity to acid was evaluated by esophageal perfusion of ClH 0.1 N. Both before and after treatment, achalasia patients may need to eat slowly, chew very well, drink plenty of water with meals, and avoid eating near bedtime. Raising the head off the bed or sleeping with a wedge pillow promotes emptying of the esophagus by gravity.

  • The clinical symptoms and the radiological findings corresponded to the endoscopic findings which showed no signs of esophagitis in those 37 patients who did not complain about reflux.
  • There are a variety of conditions that narrow the esophagus.
  • Manometry means “measurement of pressure.” This is performed by passing a thin catheter through the nose into the esophagus and stomach and recording pressure changes during swallowing.
  • The most common side effects of LARS are dysphagia and bloating, but these symptoms are usually self-limited.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has been recognized as the best Gastroenterology & GI Surgery hospital in the nation for 2019-2020 by U.S. News & World Report.

Myotomy is also successful over 85% of the time. As with balloon dilation, the esophagus ruptures during the myotomy procedure in a very few people. The tight lower esophageal sphincter causes the part of the esophagus above it to enlarge greatly.

A persistence of mild regurgitation was noticed by six patients. The patient with persisting dysphagia grade III in whom also the prestenotic dilation worsened proceeded to esophageal resection and reconstruction by gastric pull-up [7]. Esophagogram with reflux-provocation showed signs of reflux in the two patients with clinical symptoms, in all other cases there were no findings of gastroesophageal reflux also in Trendelenburg position. In all patients a mild dilation of the thoracic esophagus could be demonstrated on esophagogram.

This study aimed to elucidate whether GERD after pneumatic balloon dilata-tion (PD) has a prognostic role and to investigate how the clinical course of GERD is. Esophagomyotomy is a type of surgery that can help you if you have achalasia. Your doctor will use a large or small incision to access the sphincter and carefully alter it to allow better flow into the stomach. The great majority of esophagomyotomy procedures are successful.

High-Resolution Esophageal Manometry

There may be minor throat, chest, or abdominal pain after the procedure that can be expected but is usually easily controlled and lasts only a few days. Botulinum toxin (BoTox) injected into the muscle of the esophagus and GEJ with endoscopic guidance works by paralyzing the muscle and allowing relaxation. Although it is easy to perform and can be initially effective in relieving symptoms, the effects are temporary (typically on the order of weeks to months) and repeated injections lose efficacy.

achalasia and acid reflux

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