Heller Myotomy for Achalasia

Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter remains closed to prevent food and acid from refluxing back up into the esophagus. When you swallow, this sphincter will relax, allowing food to enter into the stomach. In achalasia, the lower esophageal sphincter is tight, and will not allow passage of food into the stomach.

Achalasia is believed to be caused by a loss of Auerbach’s nerve plexus, which results in the lower esophageal sphincter failing to relax during swallowing. In most achalasia patients, their esophagus will have poor motility, and the esophagus will not push the food down toward the stomach.