Achalasia is a rare, incurable and progressive autoimmune esophageal motility disease with only palliative treatment. Achalasia sufferers have damage to the nerves of the esophagus which makes swallowing and the passing of food and liquid into the stomach extremely difficult. It is of unknown etiology. Believed to have a genetic predisposition, with an autoimmune component and a viral trigger, approximately 1 in 100,000 are diagnosed annually. Prevalence (existing cases) and incidence (newly diagnosed cases) varies greatly per country. According to recent studies, rates of incidence seem to be rising. However the question remains whether this is due to raised awareness or other environmental factors.
Within the diagnosis of Achalasia there are three types, l, ll and lll, which compounds its complexity. To add to the frustration of this disease, most doctors will never see a case of it in their entire careers. Thus it is most often misdiagnosed causing years of pain and struggle. There is a desperate need for research and awareness to bring this disease to the public and in turn to medical personnel so that those with Achalasia can procure timely diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Siva Raja
Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Scott Gabbard
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Pankaj Jay Pasricha
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology
Dr Steven Demeester
Thoracic Surgery, Portland, Oregon
Formerly with USC Keck School of Medicine
Dr. John Pandolfino
Department of Gastroenterology, Northwestern Division Chief, Chicago
Dr. Homero Rivas
Director of Innovative Surgery, Stanford Assistant Professor of Surgery
Dr. Joel Richter
USF Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, Tampa, Florida
Dr. Haru Inoue
Director of Digestive Disease Center, Showa University, Koto Toyosu Hospital
Developer of POEM procedure in humans.
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