Correlation Engine 2.0
Clear Search sequence regions

Sizes of these terms reflect their relevance to your search.

Extrinsic compression of the left atrium (LA) due to esophageal achalasia has been considered a rare occurrence. Patients might present with dysphagia, dyspnea, and even hemodynamic compromise simultaneously. Prompt detection with a thorough differential diagnosis is crucial for subsequent management. In this case report, we present a patient with LA compression by esophageal achalasia and performed a literature review to gather information as regards the clinical manifestation, diagnosis, and treatment strategy of this rare disease.A 59-year-old man with intermittent palpitation, heartburn sensation, and difficulty swallowing came to our emergency department due to acute onset of chest compression and breathlessness after a large meal. As per his chest X-ray, dilated mediastinum and small gastric bubble were noted. Electrocardiogram implied left atrial enlargement, and the Holter monitor reported one episode of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation attack during his meal. Transthoracic echocardiogram showed a round-shaped, well-bordered, hyperechogenic, and heterogeneous mass compressing the LA irrespective of the systolic or diastolic phase. A chest contrast-enhanced computed tomography scan was then performed, wherein it showed diffuse esophageal dilatation with a smoothly thickening wall aligned compressing the LA. Meanwhile, the barium swallow esophagogram revealed contrast pooling at the esophagogastric junction with a bird beak shape. Accordingly, extrinsic compression of LA by esophageal achalasia was diagnosed.Esophageal achalasia compressing LA has been considered rare. Remarkably, given that a patient is presenting with dysphagia and concurrent chest tightness, palpitation, and dyspnea after swallowing food, the clinicians should keep this diagnosis in mind. Careful history review to clarify the causal relationship between the symptoms, specific findings on electrocardiogram and chest X-ray, and utilization of echocardiography and esophagography are beneficial for a prompt and accurate diagnosis.


Sih-Yao Chen, Han Siong Toh, Wei-Ting Chang, Chia-Te Liao. A Rare Cause of Left Atrium Compression. International heart journal. 2021 Jul 30;62(4):944-948

Expand section icon Mesh Tags

PMID: 34234073

View Full Text