Achalasia: Physiology and etiopathogenesis

R. E. Kraichely, Gianrico Farrugia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Achalasia is a disorder of esophageal motility that has been well documented for over 300 years. Despite this, the initiating factor or factors and the underlying mechanisms leading to the characteristic features of achalasia, the absence of distal esophageal peristalsis and abnormal lower esophageal sphincter relaxation, are still not well understood. Recent work has shed light on changes in neurotransmission and cell signaling in the lower esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter that lead to achalasia. A number of recent reviews have thoroughly discussed diagnostic and therapeutic modalities and the reader is referred to these for in-depth review of these topics. The focus of this review will be on our current understanding of the physiology of esophageal peristalsis and lower esophageal sphincter function as it relates to achalasia and on available evidence for etiology and proposed pathophysiologic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-223
Number of pages11
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Esophagus
  • Gastrointestinal motility
  • Interstitial cells of Cajal
  • Lower esophageal sphincter
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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