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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 4, Issue 9, Pages 596-598
Benign Esophageal Disease

Treatment of Achalasia: Pneumatic Dilation

G Vantrappen, J Janssens, and P Rutgeerts

Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium

Copyright © 1990 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Forceful dilation of the cardia is the treatment of choice for achalasia. This therapy can be carried out using a homemade system or using commercially available dilators. Pneumatic dilation yields 77% good or excellent results in patients with achalasia, while 8.7% have moderate improvement and 14.4% are not improved. The main complication is perforation, occurring in 2.5%. Perforation can be treated medically with success. In the authors' series of now almost 1000 patients, only one died. Pneumatic dilation is a safe and effective procedure for the treatment of achalasia.