Cardiac achalasia is a rare disease that prevents food and fluids from entering the stomach from the swallowing tube that connects the mouth and stomach (esophagus).
Cardiac achalasia occurs when the nerves in the esophagus are damaged. As a result, over time, the esophagus becomes paralyzed and dilated, and eventually loses the ability to force food into the stomach. Food then collects in the esophagus, sometimes ferments, and rinses out in the mouth, which can taste bitter. Some people confuse this with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, in achalasia, the food comes from the esophagus, while in GERD, the material comes from the stomach.
What are the Symptoms of Achalasia Cardia?
Symptoms of achalasia usually come on gradually and get worse over time. Signs and symptoms can include:
Inability to swallow (dysphagia) which can cause food or drink to feel stuck in your throat
Belching of food or saliva
Chest pains that come and go
Cough at night
Pneumonia (caused by sucking food into the lungs)
What are the symptoms of achalasia cardia?
The exact cause of cardiac achalasia is not clearly known. The super specialist suspects that it can be caused by the loss of nerve cells in the esophagus. There is scientific work on the causes, but viral infections or autoimmune reactions have been suggested. Very rarely, cardiac achalasia can be caused by a congenital genetic disease or infection.
How can achalasia cardia be diagnosed?
Achalasia Cardia can be overlooked or misdiagnosed as it exhibits symptoms similar to other digestive disorders. To test cardia achalasia, we recommend:
Esophageal Manometry: This test measures the rhythmic muscle contractions of your esophagus as you swallow, the coordination and strength exerted by the muscles of the esophagus, and how well your lower esophageal sphincter relaxes or opens when you swallow. This test is most helpful in determining the type of motility problem you may have.
X-rays of your upper digestive system (esophagram): X-rays are taken after drinking a chalky liquid that covers and fills the inner wall of your digestive tract. The coating allows the doctor to see a silhouette of your esophagus, stomach, and upper intestines. You may also be asked to swallow a barium pill, which can block your esophagus.
Upper endoscopy: The gastroenterologist inserts a thin, flexible tube with a lumen and a camera (endoscope) down the throat to examine the inside of the esophagus and stomach. Endoscopy can be used to define a partial esophageal blockage if your symptoms or the results of a barium study indicate this possibility. Endoscopy can also be used to take a sample of tissue (biopsy) to test for reflux complications such as Barrett’s esophagus.