The cost-effectiveness of treatment strategies for achalasia

J. Barry O'Connor, Mendel E. Singer, Thomas F. Imperiale, Michael F. Vaezi, Joel E. Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations


Achalasia is a disorder characterized by abnormal motility of the esophageal body and the lower esophageal sphincter, resulting in dysphagia, regurgitation, and chest pain. Treatment options for achalasia include Botulinum toxin injection, pneumatic balloon dilation, and surgical esophagomyotomy. The aim of this study was to determine the cost-effectiveness of these three strategies in the treatment of achalasia in adults. We constructed a Markov cost-effectiveness model comparing Botox injection, pneumatic balloon dilation, and laparoscopic esophagomyotomy as initial treatments of achalasia. Costs and probabilities were derived from the published literature. The utility for symptomatic achalasia was derived from a sample of patients with achalasia. Sensitivity analyses were performed. Over a five-year time horizon, pneumatic dilation was the most cost-effective treatment strategy for achalasia, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $1348 per quality-adjusted life-year compared to Botox. Although laparoscopic esophagomyotomy was more effective than the other treatment options, it was not cost-effective because of its high initial cost. In conclusion, pneumatic dilation is the most cost-effective treatment option for adults with achalasia. Further studies should examine the long-term relapse rates following treatment with Botox and more precisely determine the quality of life of symptomatic achalasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1516-1525
Number of pages10
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 22 2002


  • Achalasia
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Medical economics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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