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Underweight girl, 6, undergoes endoscopic procedure in Delhi

New Delhi: A six-year-old underweight child, who was not able to swallow food for almost three years due to obstruction at the junction of the food pipe and stomach, received a new lease of life after undergoing a novel endoscopic procedure at a leading private facility here, authorities said on Friday.

Doctors at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital claimed that the girl was the "youngest patient in India" to undergo this procedure — POEM (per oral endoscopic myotomy).POEM is an endoscopic procedure used to treat obstruction at the lower end of the food pipe due to failure of relaxation of lower esophageal sphincter (musculature opening) due to motility disorder called achalasia cardia, they said.

It is a relatively new advanced endoscopic procedure which can be performed in the endoscopic suite itself without any incision on chest or abdomen, with a minimal post-procedure stay, the hospital said in a statement.

Dr Anil Arora, chairman and head of the department of gastroenterology, said, "When she came to us, she was very thin, emaciated and marasmic (protein malnutrition) and weighed 8-10 kg lower than the normal weight of her corresponding peers.

"We diagnosed her to be suffering from achalasia cardia (swallowing disorder) after evaluating her with endoscopy, barium swallow followed by high resolution esophageal manometry".

Till recently the established treatment of achalasia cardia in children was surgical intervention, but in her case, it was decided to perform a relatively new endoscopic procedure, called POEM, he said.

According to Dr Shivam Khare, consultant at the hospital's department of gastroenterology, "The POEM procedure consists of four steps: Mucosal entry; creation of submucosal tunnel; initiation and extension of myotomy; and closure of mucosal entry".

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