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Achalasia Prognosis

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 @ 11:07 AM
posted by: admin

Sources: MedicineNet & Up To Date Patient Preview

Although there is no known cure for achalasia, several treatments can provide good to excellent relief from symptoms for a number of years. When treatment needs to be repeated, it can be as successful as initial treatment. However, there are complications that can arise from achalasia that one must be aware of.

Since none of the treatments for achalasia cure the underlying disease, regular follow-up is needed. The goal is to recognize and treat recurrent symptoms or complications of treatment (reflux) early. Recognizing and treating these problems can help to prevent the development of severe enlargement of the esophagus (mega-esophagus) as well as esophageal strictures and cancer, which could require surgical removal of the entire esophagus.

The complications of achalasia include weight loss and aspiration pneumonia. There often is inflammation of the esophagus, called esophagitis, which is caused by the irritating effect of food and fluids that collect in the esophagus for prolonged periods of time. There may be esophageal ulcerations as well.

Of potential concern is the possibility that there is an increased occurrence of cancer of the esophagus in patients with achalasia. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence indicating that achalasia increases a person's risk of developing esophageal cancer, so authorities are currently not recommending that patients with achalasia undergo regular upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for cancer surveillance.

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