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Achalasia-associated megaoesophagus presenting with dyspnoea and cough


We present an unusual case of achalasia presenting with dyspnoea and persistent cough. These symptoms persisted for months, leading to the patient undergoing a chest X-ray by her general practitioner which showed right basal consolidation and a density extending along the right mediastinum. CT scan was done which revealed megaoesophagus with a diameter of 7 cm causing tracheal compression, as well as right basal consolidation, consistent with aspiration. Further history revealed 6-month history of progressive swallowing difficulty, retrosternal chest pain and shortness of breath which worsened when eating solid foods. After thorough workup, a diagnosis of idiopathic achalasia (type II) was made. She was treated with laparoscopic Heller cardiomyotomy and Dor fundoplication with significant improvement at follow-up. Dyspnoea and respiratory symptoms are unusual presenting symptoms, suggesting a need to consider achalasia in a wider range of presentations. Successful treatment of achalasia depends on timely diagnosis and intervention prior to oesophageal failure.

  • Oesophagus
  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • General surgery
  • Gastroenterology

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