Patients with achalasia require repeated invasive therapies and may experience multiple complications.
Dr Volker Eckardt and colleagues determined the incidence of such complications, causes of death, and life expectancy in 253 patients.
The team found patients consisted of 2 groups.
Group 1 comprised 177 patients with newly diagnosed achalasia.
Group 2 consisted of 76 patients in whom the diagnosis had been established in external institutions.
All patients regularly underwent structured interviews and were reinvestigated if changes in health status occurred.
Survival rates were determined by Kaplan-Meier estimates and were compared with those of an average German population.
|36 patients died during follow-up|
|European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
Causes of death were determined from hospital records, information supplied by private physicians, and from death certificates.
The researchers obtained complete follow-up data in 99% in Group 1, and in 100% in Group 2 of all patients.
The observation period for Group 1 ranged from 2 to 33 years, and for Group 2 from 2 to 26 years.
The team found the most frequent complications were reflux esophagitis among 6% in Group 1, and 20% in Group 2.
Megaesophagus occurred in 6% in Group 1, and 21% in Group 2.
The team noted that 36 patients had died during follow-up.
Of these deaths, 5 were related to achalasia.
The estimated 20-year survival rates in patients with achalasia were 76%, and 80% in controls.
The team observed that the 25-year survival rates were also similar in patients and controls.
Dr Eckardt’s team concluded, “Patients with achalasia experience a significant number of complications.”
“Causes of death and life expectancy, however, do not differ from those of the average population.”