A rare and chronic condition affecting the oesophagus, achalasia cardia, is caused due to the inability of lower oesophageal sphincter to open while swallowing. This pushes the food back into the oesophagus, leading to an accumulation of saliva and food there. Lower oesophageal sphincter or LES is a muscular ring which helps in closing off stomach from the oesophagus.
Achalasia Cardia can occur due to a degeneration of nerves in the oesophagus or due to the malfunction of LES. It is also known to occur due to hereditary factors or as a result of an autoimmune condition. This condition is not totally curable. However, with proper treatment, the ability to swallow without issues can be restored.
Symptoms of achalasia cardia
The main symptom or sign of achalasia cardia is the difficulty in swallowing food. other associated symptoms are as follows: -
- Heart burn
- Regurgitation of the swallowed liquid or food or acid reflux
- A feeling of food being stuck up in the chest
- Feeling of fullness or as if a lump is present in the throat
- Chest pain
- Weight loss due to the inability to consume enough food
- Persistent hiccups
Managing Achalasia Cardia with Laparoscopic Cardiomyotomy
Achalasia cardia is treated after performing a diagnosis test to ensure the condition exists and the actual cause of the condition. The diagnosis tests include oesophageal manometry where the muscle activity of the oesophagus while swallowing is measured by a tube inserted into it; endoscopy or X-Rays with barium swallow where barium in liquid form is swallowed and its path monitored by X-ray.
The condition is treated with the help of a surgical procedure called cardiomyotomy, performed by the minimally invasive technique of laparoscopy. This involves the division of muscles in the upper stomach and LES. This helps in improving the ability to swallow food in the patient.
Benefits of the procedure
The procedure of laparoscopic cardiomyotomy has the following benefits: -
- Relatively painless and faster recovery
- Faster return to normal life
- Shorter hospitalisation
- Negligible scope for complications
- Small incisions and hence faster healing
Dr. RK Sinha is a leading bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon based in Mumbai, specialised in dealing with various gastrointestinal disorders such as achalasia cardia.