375 procedures done in last 5 years to treat rare condition that affects food pipe: Delhi hospital
A leading private facility in Delhi on Friday claimed that it has done 375 special procedures in the last five years to treat achalasia cardia, a rare and debilitating disease that affects a person's food pipe.
The Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) in a statement said a recent advancement called POEM (Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy) has dramatically improved the treatment outcomes of this complex disorder.
The Institute of Liver, Gastroenterology and Pancreaticobiliary Sciences (ILGPS) at the SGRH has consistently been at the ''forefront of performing and pioneering POEM procedures in north India'', hospital authorities said, and claimed that doctors at the facility have performed ''375 POEM procedures over the last five years''.
These patients were in the age group of 14-90 with a mean age of 47 years and comprised 43 percent females and 57 percent males, doctors said.
Achalasia cardia affects the food pipe, also called the oesophagus, and leads to problems in swallowing.
The oesophagus performs the vital function of transporting food into the stomach for digestion. A valve like a muscle, called a lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is present between the oesophagus and the stomach, which permits a one-way transit of oesophageal content into the stomach, doctors said.
According to Dr. Anil Arora, chairman, ILGPS, at the hospital, ''In achalasia cardia, the LES fails to relax during swallowing and hence food cannot enter the stomach and gets stuck up in the food pipe. As a result patients with achalasia cardia have difficulty in swallowing, develop chest pain followed by vomiting out of the swallowed food''.
The symptoms can be devastating with most patients suffering from loss of weight and poor quality of life, he said.
''The biggest enigma in the diagnosis of this rare condition, which occurs in one in 1,00,000 individuals, is that the disease is often missed initially and is mistakenly diagnosed as gastroesophageal reflux disease, called GERD, which is a very common condition prevalent in one-fifth of the population as the symptoms of chest pain, vomiting, and regurgitation of food are equally prevalent in both diseases with diagrammatically opposite treatment,'' he said.
This is where a good and meticulous history of the patient coupled with barium studies, endoscopy, and high-resolution manometry studies of the oesophagus come in handy in making a proper diagnosis and selecting the appropriate treatment modality, doctor said.
According to Dr. Shrihari Anikhindi, consultant, ILGPS at the hospital, ''Among the various treatment options available for achalasia cardia, POEM has now become the preferred treatment option due to its minimally invasive non-surgical nature and rapid and almost complete symptom relief with excellent outcomes.'' In POEM, the non-relaxing LES is cut from within the cavity of the esophagus using endoscopy, he said.
Arora said the entire procedure takes around 1-1.5 hours and is performed under general anesthesia, and hence is painless and quite comfortable for the patient. Most patients can resume diet from the very next day and are discharged within 48 hours.
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