Achalasia is a rare disorder of the lower muscle of the esophagus known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Achalasia is caused by damage to the esophageal nerves, which prevents the esophagus from working properly to move food and liquid down the esophagus. In addition, nerve damage prevents the LES from opening and allowing food to enter the stomach. As a result, food and saliva accumulate in the esophagus. When the pressure from food and liquid builds up in the esophagus and reaches a certain point, the pressure will force the sphincter to open and release the food into the stomach. Over time, the walls of the esophagus will weaken causing the esophagus to become dilated and baggy. Food and liquid sitting in the esophagus, known as stasis, will begin to break down and ferment causing damage to the lining of the esophagus. This increases the risk of developing squamous cancer of the lining of the esophagus.
Achalasia affects a patient’s quality of life, limiting the types and amounts of food they can eat and causes several unpleasant symptoms including:
Treatments for achalasia include both nonsurgical and surgical approaches. The goal of all these approaches is to weaken (relax) the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to allow food and liquid to pass into the stomach.
Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) is an innovative advanced endoscopic procedure which has become the first line therapy for Achalasia in expert Achalasia referral centers. In 2009, Stavros N. Stavropoulos, MD was the second surgeon in the world and the first in the United States to perform a POEM procedure. POEM is a scarless minimally invasive procedure which is performed endoscopically through the mouth. The same cut as in the Heller myotomy is made to the lower esophageal sphincter without surgical incisions into the abdomen. Dr. Stavropoulos is one of the foremost thought leaders in the field of advanced endoscopy, traveling extensively around the world lecturing and teaching specialized techniques, including POEM. To date, Dr. Stavropoulos has performed more than 600 POEM procedures, the most in the United States.
NYU Winthrop Hospital – Providing Long Island with Leading-edge Achalasia Treatment
If you or a loved one is suffering from achalasia symptoms, you can count on the accomplished gastroenterology team at NYU Winthrop Hospital to give you the highest quality care. For more information about achalasia treatments and thePOEM procedure, contact Maria Marotta-Kollarus, BSN, RN, clinical research nurse coordinator at 516-663-4652 or email us.
Choose NYU Winthrop Hospital for effective treatment of achalasia symptoms… because your health means everything.