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Dis Esophagus. 2008;21(5):461-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2050.2008.00811.x. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Treatment of achalasia: lessons learned with Chagas' disease.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Esophagus and Stomach, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Chagas' disease (CD) is highly prevalent in South America. Brazilian surgeons and gastroenterologists gained valuable experience in the treatment of CD esophagopathy (chagasic achalasia) due to the high number of cases treated. The authors reviewed the lessons learned with the treatment of achalasia by different centers experienced in the treatment of Chagas' disease. Preoperative evaluation, endoscopic treatment (forceful dilatation and botulinum toxin injection), Heller's myotomy, esophagectomy, conservative techniques other than myotomy, and reoperations are discussed in the light of personal experiences and review of International and Brazilian literature. Aspects not frequently adopted by North American and European surgeons are emphasized. The review shows that nonadvanced achalasia is frequently treated by Heller's myotomy. Endoscopic treatment is reserved to limited cases. Treatment for end-stage achalasia is not unanimous. Esophagectomy was a popular treatment in advanced disease; however, the morbidity/mortality associated to the procedure made some authors seek different alternatives, such as Heller's myotomy and cardioplasties. Minimally invasive approach to esophageal resection may change this concept, although few centers perform the procedure routinely.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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