Visceral Medicine, October 2016, Vol.32(5), pp.369-374
Background: Despite an increasing understanding of the pathophysiology of achalasia, the etiology of this esophageal motility disorder remains largely unknown. However, the occurrence of familial achalasia, its association with well-defined genetic syndromes, the candidate gene approach, and recent presentation of the first systematic genome-wide association study on achalasia suggest the involvement of genetic factors. Methods: In this study we analyzed the frequency with which symptoms associated with esophageal function (swallowing difficulties, regurgitations, retrosternal cramps/pain, heartburn) occur in first-degree relatives of patients with achalasia to determine if screening is useful and justified against the background of early diagnosis in a genetically predisposed population. The survey of data was carried out in 759 relatives of the 359 achalasia patients included in this study by means of structured interviews. Results: Swallowing difficulties as the principal symptom of achalasia were found to occur at least occasionally in 11.2% of first-degree relatives. In comparison with the prevalence of dysphagia in the general population of 7-10% up to 22%, as described in the literature, the frequency of swallowing difficulties does not seem to be increased in our population of relatives. Conclusion: Screening measures do not appear to be justified in spite of the potential genetic background of achalasia.
Original Article ; Esophagus-Related Symptoms ; First-Degree Relatives ; Achalasia Patients ; Screening
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