Background: Timed barium esophagogram (TBE) and esophageal transit scintigraphy (ETS) have been adopted as useful ways to evaluate achalasia patients. TBE has merit as a simple, non-invasive, and convenient method. Aims: The study sought to compare the results of these two tests and verify their usefulness in evaluating treatment response. In addition, we assessed whether TBE could effectively replace ETS through correlation analysis. Methods: The medical records of 50 achalasia patients treated between September 2011 and June 2014 were reviewed retrospectively. The height and width of the barium column at 1, 2, and 5 min were measured by TBE. Half-life (T1/2, min) and R30 (percentage of remaining radioactivity 30 s after radioisotope ingestion) were measured by ETS. Both tests were performed before and after treatment, and the tests were carried out 1 and 2 days after procedures. And we analyzed the correlation between the parameters from the two tests. Results: The parameters of TBE and ETS were improved after treatment (p < 0.05). Before treatment, the height and width results at 5 min from TBE positively correlated with the T1/2 parameter from ETS (correlation coefficients of 0.59 and 0.75, respectively). After treatment, the correlation coefficients between the 5-min height and width of the barium column by TBE and T1/2 by ETS were 0.55 and 0.46, respectively. Conclusions: Both TBE and ETS are useful modalities in assessing esophageal emptying and response to achalasia treatment. TBE and ETS results have a statistically significant correlation both pre- and post-treatment. We suggest that TBE could effectively replace ETS for the assessment of achalasia.
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