Clinical characteristics of patients with untreated achalasia

Han Ho Jeon, Jie Hyun Kim, Young Hoon Youn, Hyojin Park, Jeffrey L. Conklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims Patients with untreated achalasia frequently complain of heartburn and regurgitation. The diagnosis of achalasia might be delayed because these symptoms are misinterpreted as gastroesophageal reflux. We aim to evaluate the clinical, radiologic, and manometric findings in patient with untreated achalasia. Methods The records of patients diagnosed with primary achalasia between July 2004 and January 2012 at Gangnam Severance Hospital, Seoul, Korea were evaluated. We reviewed their clinical history and the findings of barium esophagogram, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, and esophageal transit scintigraphy. We also compared the clinical, radiologic, and manometric findings of patients according to heartburn symptoms and proton pump inhibitor use. Results Our study included a total of 64 patients with a median age of 44.5 (interquartile range, 31.5-54.0). The median duration of symptoms was 23.5 (interquartile range, 5.3-57.0) months. Sixty-four patients (100%) had dysphagia, 49 (76.6%) had regurgitation, 35 (54.7%) had chest pain, and 38 (59.4%) had heartburn. Typical clinical features of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) such as regurgitation, heartburn, and chest pain were observed in more than 50% of achalasia patients. Proton pump inhibitors were prescribed for 16 patients (25%) on the assumption that they had GERD. Patients with heartburn were more likely to experience weight loss (P = 0.009), regurgitation (P = 0.001), or chest pain (P = 0.019). Conclusions Heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain were commonly observed in patients with untreated achalasia. Therefore, these findings suggest that achalasia should be suspected in patients with refractory GERD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-384
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical characteristics of patients with untreated achalasia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this