Long-term effects of pneumatic dilatation on symptoms and lower oesophageal sphincter pressure in achalasia

R. Penagini, P. Cantù, M. Mangano, P. Colombo, P. A. Bianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pneumatic dilatation is an effective treatment for achalasia. Although follow-up studies have shown that its clinical benefit persists for years, it is still unknown whether the decrease in lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) pressure is maintained over time. Our aim is to assess the long-term effects of pneumatic dilatation on symptoms and LOS pressure in patients with idiopathic achalasia. Methods: Eleven consecutive patients with achalasia (7 men) underwent 1 (n = 5) or 2 (n = 6) pneumatic dilatations (Rigiflex dilator) in order to achieve a stable (>1 year) clinical remission. Clinical scores (0-12, with scores of ≤3 indicating remission) and LOS pressure (sleeve manometry) were determined before treatment, after 3 and 12 months, and then every year for 6 years. Results: No operative complications occurred. The patients showed a marked clinical improvement (2.0 (2.0-2.0), median (IQ range), after 3 months versus 8.0 (7.2-9.0) before treatment; P <0.001), which was maintained throughout the follow-up period. Concurrently, there was a marked decrease in LOS pressure (5.0 (4.0-7.0) mmHg after 3 months versus 25.0 (20.0-36.2) before treatment; P <0.001), which also remained stable over time. Conclusions: One or two pneumatic dilatations induce stable clinical remission and a decrease in LOS pressure that remains unchanged over time. Our data further support the use of dilatations as first-line treatment of achalasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-384
Number of pages5
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Achalasia
  • Lower oesophageal sphincter
  • Pneumatic dilatation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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