The treatment of achalasia patients with esophageal varices: an international study

M. Pesce, C. Magee, R. H. Holloway, C. P. Gyawali, S. Roman, M. Pioche, E. Savarino, F. Quader, G. Sarnelli, S. Sanagapalli, A. J. Bredenoord, R. Sweis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Treatment options for achalasia include endoscopic and surgical techniques that carry the risk of esophageal bleeding and perforation. The rare coexistence of esophageal varices has only been anecdotally described and treatment is presumed to carry additional risk. Methods: Experience from physicians/surgeons treating this rare combination of disorders was sought through the International Manometry Working Group. Results: Fourteen patients with achalasia and varices from seven international centers were collected (mean age 61 ± 9 years). Five patients were treated with botulinum toxin injections (BTI), four had dilation, three received peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM), one had POEM then dilation, and one patient underwent BTI followed by Heller's myotomy. Variceal eradication preceded achalasia treatment in three patients. All patients experienced a significant symptomatic improvement (median Eckardt score 7 vs 1; p < 0.0001) at 6 months follow-up, with treatment outcomes resembling those of 20 non-cirrhotic achalasia patients who underwent similar therapy. No patients had recorded complications of bleeding or perforation. Conclusion: This study shows an excellent short-term symptomatic response in patients with esophageal achalasia and varices and demonstrates that the therapeutic outcomes and complications, other than transient encephalopathy in both patients who had a portosystemic shunt, did not differ to disease-matched patients without varices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-572
Number of pages8
JournalUnited European Gastroenterology Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Esophageal varices
  • achalasia treatment
  • botulinum toxin injection
  • peroral endoscopic myotomy
  • pneumatic dilation


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