Waquar Uddin Ahmed, Huma Qureshi, Ambreen Arif, Mumtaz Maher.
Achalasia in a gastroenterology unit of Karachi.
J Pak Med Assoc Jan ;58(12):10-2.

Objective: To study the presentation of Achalasia and compare the response of pneumatic dilatation with surgery. Methods: Retrospective analysis of patient`s records (January 2000-December 2005) from outpatients department of Pakistan Medical Research Council), Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi was done. All patients with Achalasia were analyzed. As a protocol endoscopy, esophageal manometry, esophageal transit time and barium swallow was done to establish the diagnosis. Surgery and endoscopic guided pneumatic dilatation were offered to these patients as treatment options. Patients undergoing surgery or pneumatic dilatation were later followed to assess the efficacy and those not responding to second dilatation were also operated and follow up of all these cases were noted. Results: Forty-six patients (24 males, 22 females) with a mean age of 39.8 ± 15.9 years were analyzed. Dysphagia was the primary symptom in thirty eight patients (83%) followed by vomiting and epigastric pain. Pneumatic dilatation was performed in 32 out of forty-six patients. Out of these cases 22 (69%) had single, and 10 (31%) had two dilatations. Two patients (6%) had perforation, one required emergency surgery, another patient was managed conservatively and recovery was unremarkable. Six patients (19 %) later required surgery. Fourteen cases opted for surgery as a primary treatment. Out of 20 patients operated, four (20%) required post operative dilatation and one (5%) developed gastro-esophageal reflux. Conclusions: Achalasia is prevalent in young age, in both sexes almost equally. Pneumatic dilatation is safe and effective, as it can be managed on outpatient basis with little morbidity and 81 % success rate. Surgery is still an effective procedure with comparable 80 % success rate (JPMA 58:661; 2008).

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