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Achalasia-associated megaoesophagus presenting with dyspnoea and cough

Abstract

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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