Aerodigestive Center

Boston Children’s Aerodigestive Program sees patients who have trouble swallowing, breathing or have related gastrointestinal issues in addition to respiratory symptoms. This program is one of the oldest in the country, bringing together pediatric specialists in gastroenterology, pulmonology, feeding therapy and other subspecialties such as otolaryngology, to manage the care of children with a variety of disorders involving the respiratory and digestive system.

Aerodigestive Center at Boston Children’s Hospital

Patients come from all over the world for our advanced procedures and for the specialized care our team can provide. Many of our patients' families feel like they have been everywhere and tried everything. Many have been prescribed unnecessary medicines or are concerned about having their child undergo anesthesia multiple times.

Unlike many other aerodigestive programs, we focus on both the short- and long-term medical needs of our patients. Specialists from different fields will evaluate your child during a single visit and, after careful discussion, will create a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan.

Aerodigestive Procedures

Our aerodigestive program strives to provide better ways to evaluate and treat issues of the lungs and esophagus. We are truly dedicated to reducing invasive procedures, unnecessary medicines, and anesthesia events. Our program commonly provides:

  • Multidisciplinary evaluation and recommendations: Our Aerodigestive Program develops treatment plans customized to meet the varied needs of every child’s unique condition. Each team member has many years of experience researching and treating various aerodigestive disorders—often specializing in specific symptoms or treatments. This means that we are able to offer a highly customized, multidisciplinary approach to treatment for all of our patients, leading to the best outcomes possible.
  • Triple endoscopy: During this common procedure, a flexible tube with a camera on the end is inserted through the nose into the airway to directly visualize the larynx (voice box), bronchi (breathing tubes) and esophagus (swallowing tube). Additional laboratory tests and cultures may be ordered at the same time. A triple scope means your doctor benefits from having the results of three or more tests simultaneously and will help to pinpoint precisely why your child is having trouble breathing. It also means your child can have the benefit of multiple tests while undergoing anesthesia only once and will have communication with your care team in the operating room.
  • Esophageal Impedance-pH Study: An impedance study is a test to determine whether contents from the stomach are coming up into the esophagus (food tube), by evaluating acid and non-acid gastroesophageal reflux. We have performed more impedance testing than any other center in the country and have been instrumental in developing and validating the technique. Our doctors have published numerous studies on the role of reflux testing in children.
  • High-resolution esophageal manometry: This procedure is a useful tool to determine the relationship between esophageal clearance and respiratory symptoms. Patients come from around the world for our advanced, high-resolution manometry tests. Learn more about esophageal manometry.
  • Lung imaging: Our program collaborates with world leaders in lung imaging at Boston Children’s to perform image scans of your child’s lungs and chest cavity.
  • Advanced treatments: Our medicine-based approach means we look for minimally invasive procedures, like the injection of Botox, that have a high degree of success in treating issues such as like intractable reflux (heartburn), achalasia, esophageal motility disorders, tight fundoplications (difficulty swallowing), gastroparesis or esophageal spasms. The injection is done during an endoscopy, a procedure that involves inserting a long, thin, lighted tube through the mouth and into the esophagus.

The aerodigestive program at Boston Children’s is actively engaged in ongoing research related to GI motility problems. Learn more about our current research and clinical trials.

Make an Appointment

For an appointment, more information or to obtain a second opinion for your child, please contact the Aerodigestive Program at 617-355-0897 or request an appointment online.