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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2003 September;49(3):167-72

language: English


Ayoubi M., Framarin L., Solerio E., Rosina F., Bonardi L.


Aim. Achalasia is a disease of unknown etiology resulting from degeneration of the eso-phageal Auerbach submucous plexus. This degeneration makes normal relaxation of the cardia during swallowing impossible leading to dysphagia, chest pain and regurgitation of varying degree. Until 15 years ago the main conservative treatment for achalasia was dilatation of the cardia with the Starck apparatus. Such approach to achalasia was usually reported as fairly effective, but complicated by an exceedingly high rate of perforation. This led most centers to replace the Starck procedure with pneumatic or hydrostatic balloon dilators. The aim of our study was to evaluate safety, early and late results of the Starck procedure.
Methods. Our report is based on the retrospective analysis of 21 patients [male/female: 12/9, mean age 46 years (range-65)] who underwent 52 Starck procedures for esophageal achalasia. The effectiveness of the Starck procedure was assessed according to the scale of Vantrappen and Hellemans.
Results. After the scheduled 2 Starck sessions, an excellent result was seen in 10 patients (50%), a good result in 8 (40%); 2 patients (10%) showed a poor result. One month after the last Stark procedure 1 patient (5%) experienced gastroesofageal reflux easily managed with protein pump inhibitors. During or after dilations no major complications were observed.
Conclusion. The Starck procedure, now replaced by the new Rigiflex pneumatic dilator, resulted effective and safe in experienced hands.

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