Purpose of Review
This review addresses the similarities and differences between the spastic esophageal disorders, including jackhammer esophagus, distal esophageal spasm (DES), and type III (spastic) achalasia. The pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of each separate disorder are discussed herein, with an emphasis on overlapping and discordant features.
The Chicago Classification is a hierarchical organizational scheme for esophageal motility disorders, currently in its third iteration, with direct impact on the definitions of these three disorders. Complementary diagnostic tools such as impedance planimetry and novel manometric parameters continue to evolve. The suite of potential treatments for these disorders is also expanding, with progressive interest in the role of peroral endoscopic myotomy alongside established pharmacologic and mechanical interventions.
Although jackhammer esophagus, distal esophageal spasm, and type III achalasia frequently overlap in terms of their clinical presentation and available management approaches, the divergences in their respective diagnostic criteria suggest that additional study may reveal additional mechanistic distinctions that lead in turn to further refinements in therapeutic decision-making.
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