The most effective treatment for achalasia is pneumatic dilation or myotomy. The best option is still controversial and incidence of complications could help choosing. Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GER) is the most frequent complication after treatment for achalasia. The 24-h pH monitoring (24-h pH) is the best method to evaluate true GER. Aim To analyse the 24-h pH patterns after treatment, correlating with therapeutic success. Methods Untreated patients with achalasia were randomized to pneumatic dilation or laparoscopic Heller myotomy with fundoplication (LHM+Fp) and evaluated with clinical/manometric results and 24-h pH. Results Ninety-four patients were analysed pre-treatment and 85 post-treatment. Clinical success was 73.8% in pneumatic dilation group and 88.3% in LHM+Fp group (P = 0.08). The incidence of GER was 31% in pneumatic dilation, and 4.7% in LHM+Fp (P = 0.001). The occurrence of hypotensive lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) was 53.3% in patients who developed GER and 28.6% in patients with 24-h pH suggesting fermentation (P = 0.019). The rates of dysphagia resolution in patients with 24-h pH of GER and fermentation were respectively 86.7% and 85.7% (P = 0.89). Conclusions True GER 24-h pH is more frequent after pneumatic dilation for achalasia, and it is associated with a hypotensive LES. A 24-h pH suggestive of fermentation or true GER is not associated with worse clinical/manometric results. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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