Founder of Three Tier Technologies survives surgery.
After a prolonged illness due to Achalasia, James McEachern has had successfull surgery (Esophageal Myotomy) to aid in his recovery. During the time of the disease, James has lost more than a quarter of his existing weight (not a bad thing).
Basic Overview of Achalasia
The cause of the disorder is unknown. There are informal theories relating to various factors like problems with the peristaltic motion of the esophageal muscle, stricture at the point where the esophagus passes through the diaphragm (the Lower Esophageal Sphincter, or LES), but no conclusive case has been made for any one physiological determinant.
Diagnosis is made through the use of endoscopic examination of the esophagus and stomach, through manometry which measures the pressure created during swallowing, and through X-ray studies using barium swallow. The X-ray in particular has a characteristic appearance with constriction at the diaphragm and distension of the esophagus above. This is usually referred to as a "bird beak" appearance.
There is no known cure.
Treatment options include balloon dilation of the LES, injection of botox into the muscle of the LES. Both of these options are considered temporary at best. Dilation comes with the risk of perforation of the esophagus. Either option can result in scar tissue that could make later surgery more difficult
The basic surgical option is the Heller Myotomy which is the surgical severing of the LES muscle sometimes accompanied by a wrap of tissue around the site in an effort to prevent stomach acid from coming up through the now unobstructed opening between stomach and esophagus. Again, the myotomy is not a cure. There are records of people having this procedure multiple times, and also of people whose symptoms returned or were only partially ameliorated by the procedure. Heller myotomies are generally conducted laproscopically.
A more extreme surgical option is the esophagectomy in which the esophagus is surgically removed and replaced either by pulling some of the stomach up to attach to the throat directly, or by a section of intestine removed from the patient for the purpose.
June 16, 2006, jamesm
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