What is achalasia?
Achalasia is an uncommon esophageal dysmotility disorder in which there is absent esophageal peristalsis and impaired or absent relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter during deglutition. The two major forms are primary achalasia and secondary achalasia.
Primary, or idiopathic, achalasia is caused by degeneration of myenteric plexi in the esophageal wall, whereas secondary achalasia (or pseudo-achalasia) is a less common form caused by other conditions (especially malignant tumors) that lead to an achalasia-like motility disorder. Differentiation of these two forms is important because primary achalasia is generally treated with botulinum toxin injection, pneumatic dilation, or laparoscopic myotomy, whereas secondary achalasia usually requires diagnostic workup and treatment of the underlying malignancy.