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Copyright ©2008 The WJG Press and Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Oct 14, 2008; 14(38): 5900-5906
Published online Oct 14, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.5900
A systematic review and meta-analysis of the Chinese literature for the treatment of achalasia
Lan Wang, You-Ming Li, Lan Li, Chao-Hui Yu
Lan Wang, You-Ming Li, Lan Li, Chao-Hui Yu, Department of Gastroenterology, the First Affiliated Hospital, Medical College, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310003, Zhejiang Province, China
Author contributions: Wang L and Li L were responsible for data collection and preparing the manuscript; Li YM was responsible for study design; all of the authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Correspondence to: You-Ming Li, the 1st Affiliated Hospital, Medical College, Zhejiang University, No. 79 Qingchun Road, Hangzhou 310003, Zhejiang Province, China. zlym@zju.edu.cn
Telephone: +86-571-87236603 Fax: +86-571-87236611
Received: May 5, 2008
Revised: August 26, 2008
Accepted: September 2, 2008
Published online: October 14, 2008

AIM: To evaluate the effect of different approaches in the treatment of achalasia in China.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of Chinese literature by searching the Chinese Biomedical Database and Chinese scientific Journals database (up to March 2008). All cohort studies (controlled or uncontrolled) in which the patients were observed for more than a year were reviewed in detail. Dichotomous outcomes were reported as relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for controlled trials. The efficacy in uncontrolled trials was assessed by a pooled estimate of response rate with individual studies weighted in proportion to the sample size.

RESULTS: Seven controlled trials compared the effect of botulinum toxin injection (BoTx) with pneumatic dilation (PD). PD was superior to BoTx [65.2% vs 45.3%; RR 1.47 (95% CI 1.23-1.77), P < 0.0001], and had a lower clinical relapse rate (BoTx 30.2% vs PD 10%, RR 0.32 (0.16-0.65), P = 0.001). Heller myotomy (HM) had superior remission rate compared to PD [HM 94.0% vs PD 64.1%, RR 1.48 (1.15-1.99), P = 0.002]. In uncontrolled trials, the effectiveness of PD was 86.6% (23.9%) vs 94.8% (10.6%) for HM. The main complications of PD were perforation and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

CONCLUSION: HM is the most effective long-term treatment for patients with achalasia in China. In the future, controlled clinical trials on the treatment of achalasia should focus on comparing laparoscopic myotomy with or without antireflux procedure, including different partial and total fundoplication techniques.

Keywords: Meta-analysis, Achalasia, Esophageal, Treatment, Pneumatic dilation, Botulinum toxin injection, Laparoscopic myotomy