One hundred and twenty nine children under the age of 15 years were diagnosed as having achalasia in Britain and Ireland between 1976 and 1985 by 175 surgeons with an interest in paediatrics or oesophageal disease. The incidence in Eire was 0.31 cases/10(5) population/year and this was significantly higher than in England and Wales (0.1/10(5)/year), Scotland (0.06/10(5)/year/or Northern Ireland (0.02/10(5)/year). Details of age at diagnosis were only obtained for 36 of the 129 patients. The disease appeared to become commoner with increasing age but there is no evidence of a delay in diagnosis until early adulthood. Such a delay would not account for the apparent regional variations in incidence, as they have also been reported in adults. Southern Irish children are at greater risk of the disease than other children in the British Isles.
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