Purposes: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of esophageal functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for the diagnosis of achalasia. Methods: Eleven patients with suspected achalasia and three normal subjects underwent fMRI while swallowing clear liquid with original sequences; "T2-weighed single-shot fast spin-echo" and "Fast Imaging Employing Steady-state Acquisition". The fMRI-based diagnosis was compared with that based on manometry. The luminal fluctuation index (LFI) and Dd/Ds ratio were used for the objective evaluation of the esophageal peristalsis and relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Results: Functional MRI showed a dilated tortuous esophagus with no tumor, poor clearance, simultaneous waves, aperistalsis, and impaired LES relaxation in all but one case, allowing the diagnosis of achalasia with accuracy similar to that of manometry. The LFI (median 0.08, range 0.03-0.25) and Dd/Ds ratio (1.40, 1.0-2.3) of the patient group were significantly lower than those of the normal subjects [1.50, 2.32-4.05, and 2.59 (2.32-4.05)]. No severe adverse events directly related to fMRI were noted. Conclusions: Using our protocol, fMRI was considered to be safe and feasible for the diagnosis of achalasia. Given the widespread use of MRI, esophageal fMRI, which does not require exposure to radiation, could be a potentially useful diagnostic tool for patients with esophageal motility disorders.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes