Achalasia - Retained Food in Esophagus
This short video was taken during a gastroscopy examination of the
esophagus in a 52 year old women who came to the doctor because she was
having problems swallowing her food. The symptoms began about a year
before, but were mild and infrequent. In the last 3 months, she began
having more frequent and severe symptoms. Every time she swallowed, it
felt like the food was sticking in her esophagus and not going down into
her stomach. She often could not finish a meal and began to lose weight.
Sometimes, she would find yesterday's undigested food on her pillow in
the morning. She feared that she had cancer of the esophagus. Instead,
her tests revealed that she had Achalasia, a disorder of the
esophagus which affects about 1 in 10,000 adults. In this rare
condition, the "valve" between the esophagus and stomach fails to open
fully preventing food from entering the stomach. Food then accumulates
in the esophagus. In this video, you can see the retained food particles
in the esophagus from a meal eaten 15 hours earlier. Once an accurate
diagnosis was made, laparoscopic surgery was performed to release the
valve and her symptoms improved.
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