Efficacy of botulinum toxin injection before pneumatic dilatation in patients with idiopathic achalasia
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Graded pneumatic dilatation (PD) is an appropriate long-term therapy and botulinum toxin injection (BT) is a relatively short-term therapy in idiopathic achalasia. Their combination has not been previously scrutinized. This study aimed to evaluate the role of BT in enhancing the efficacy of PD with 30 mm balloons. Patients who underwent PD with 30 mm balloons after botulinum toxin injections and a group of age- and sex-matched controls who were treated only with PD were enrolled in the study. Symptom scores were taken before, 1 month after and then every 3 months after PD. There were no significant differences between the two groups in gender, duration or severity of symptoms. One of the 12 patients in the case group relapsed 30 months after PD but the others were in remission for an average of 25.6 months. In the control group, all the patients relapsed after a mean of 12.6 months and needed a 35-mm PD. The cumulative remission rate was significantly higher in the case group compared with the control group (P < 0.01). The mean symptom score decreased by 76% in the case group (P < 0.001) and 53% in the controls (P < 0.01) at the end of the first month. Neither age, sex, nor duration or severity of symptoms were predictive of patients' responses to treatment. It seems that BT may be a meaningful enhancing factor in long-term efficacy of PD. PD with a 30 mm balloon after a BT session may resolve the need for the future higher grade PD.
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