‘Rare swallowing disease’ incidence rises in UAE

By Angel Chan

ABU DHABI 11 November 2017: Doctors are investigating whether the incidence of Achalasia, a rare condition which prevents food from passing into the stomach, is higher in the UAE than the global average, following an increase in the number of reported cases.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has reported a marked increase in the number of patients with the condition since they started offering a cutting-edge non-invasive procedure, two and a half years ago, said Wam.

Surgeons from Cleveland Clinic said that they have already treated 11 cases of Achalasia, nine of which have been among UAE nationals, using Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy a non-invasive endoscopic procedure.

“Achalasia is a rare condition. Far less than one percent of people around the world are affected by it, For the size of the population, the number seems high,” said Dr. Matthew Kroh, Chief of the Digestive Disease Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

“Now that we’ve started to do these types of procedures, patients are seeking out the therapy because they didn’t realise it existed,” Dr. Kroh said. “Part of that is not just patients but also physicians. Knowing that these procedures are now available in the country and that people no longer have to travel abroad is starting to bring more people here, which is providing a more comprehensive picture of the disease.”