Achalasia with complete relaxation of lower esophageal sphincter: Radiographic-manometric correlation

Raghu Amaravadi, Marc S. Levine, Stephen E. Rubesin, Igor Laufer, Regina O. Redfern, David A. Katzka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To evaluate retrospectively the presence of complete relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) at manometry in patients with achalasia depicted on barium esophagograms. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The institutional review board approved this retrospective study and did not require informed consent. A search of radiology and manometry records identified 21 patients (12 men, nine women; mean age, 52.4 years) with achalasia depicted on barium esophagograms who had undergone manometric examinations and met the inclusion criteria. Radiologic reports and images were reviewed for presence or absence of primary peristalsis, impaired LES opening, esophageal dilatation, delayed emptying of barium, and nonperistaltic contractions. Manometry reports were reviewed for presence or absence of peristalsis or simultaneous esophageal contractions. Resting and residual LES pressures were recorded to determine whether LES relaxation was complete or incomplete. Medical records were reviewed to determine clinical presentation and follow-up (treatment and patient course), and radiographic files were reviewed to determine radiographic findings at follow-up examinations. Clinical characteristics (eg, age, dysphagia, and weight loss) were correlated with LES relaxation at manometry. Data were analyzed statistically with Fisher exact and Wilcoxon rank sum testing. RESULTS: All 21 patients with radiographic findings of achalasia had aperistalsis at manometry. Fourteen patients (67%) had incomplete LES relaxation at manometry during swallowing, and seven (33%) riad complete LES relaxation. There were no significant differences between patients with complete LES relaxation and those with incomplete LES relaxation in mean age (P = .59), duration of dysphagia (P = .18), or weight loss (P > .99). Clinical follow-up findings were available for six patients with complete LES relaxation at manometry and 10 with incomplete relaxation. Symptoms resolved after treatment in all six patients with complete LES relaxation. Six (60%) of 10 patients with incomplete LES relaxation had resolution of symptoms after treatment, and four (40%) had substantial improvement. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that in patients with typical radiographic findings of achalasia, the barium study can be used to guide treatment without a need for manometry. If radiographic findings are equivocal, however, manometry may be required for a more certain diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-891
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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