City doctor prescribes POEM to help swallow food

The new treatment unblocks food passage using endoscopy and makes intake easier

Published: 21st July 2014 07:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2014 07:52 AM   |  A+A-

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CHENNAI: Imagine getting up in the middle of the night with your nose filled with water, and mouth with the the food you had for dinner. This unease is a symptom of acute swallowing disorder. A city hospital has introduced a new machine to treat patients suffering from it.

“Instances like regurgitation, food and water rising up to the nose when you are sleeping and difficulty in pushing the food bolus in are some of the symptoms of a condition called Achalasia Cardia. Every month we get around four patients with this disorder,” says Dr T S Chandrasekar, chairman of MedIndia.

Achalasia Cardia is caused when the valve that leads from the food pipe to the stomach fails to open up. Due to this, the passage of food into the stomach is blocked, leading to accumulation in the food pipe. The food particles later come back through the nose. This may even lead to chest infection.

“In the later stages, I had water coming out through my nose and ears. It became unbearable,” says a 53-year-old lady, who was treated at the hospital recently. While the usual treatment for the condition includes balloon dilation, laparoscopy and drugs, a new treatment called POEM (Per Oral Endoscopic Myotomy) includes inserting a knife into the food pipe using endoscopy to cut the muscles that block the food passage.

“The advantage of the new system is that doctors can monitor the entire process of operation. Moreover, since the endoscopy is done by inserting the instruments, there are no scars on the body. The patient can be discharged within 48 hours,” said Dr T S Chandrasekar. The new procedure is about 10 per cent more expensive than the traditional balloon dilation procedure, he said.

The technology, which was first introduced in Japan, is now available in hospitals in Mumbai and Hyderabad.

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