Aerodigestive Center Research and Innovation

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Aerodigestive disorders are a group of complex conditions requiring expertise from various specialties for comprehensive evaluation and early diagnosis. Coordinating care between different specialists can be, at times, very challenging and time consuming, but Boston Children’s Hospital Aerodigestive Center is designed so that these complex patients can be seen by multiple specialists in a single visit which facilitates better communication, early diagnosis and faster, more comprehensive care.

During their initial appointments patients will see specialists from pulmonary medicine and gastroenterology, and may see other specialists such as otolaryngologists, feeding specialists, and nutrition based on each individual patient’s need.

After a clinic visit, the medical team meets to discuss the clinical concerns of each patient and devise a personalized treatment plan. The patient receives a call about the combined plan within 48 hours of their appointment, and an overview letter outlining the team’s recommendations is mailed to the family. Detailed letters for the child's primary care physician will follow within 3-4 weeks after the appointment.

Testing

In addition to being staffed by outstanding aerodigestive specialists, the center has access to the latest cutting-edge technology and procedures used in the diagnosis and treatment of children with aerodigestive issues.

These technologies and procedures include:

Pulmonary:

  • High resolution Chest CT scan with 3D airway reconstruction/analysis
  • Cardiopulmonary testing
  • Full spectrum of pulmonary function testing
  • Overnight oximetry
  • Flexible bronchoscopy
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Endobronchial biopsy
  • Tranbronchial biopsy
  • Ciliary biopsy
  • Multichannel intraluminal impedance (pH-MII)
  • High resolution esophageal manometry with impedance
  • Cough catheters with pH-MII
  • State of the art MR scanning of brain and chest
  • Exercise induced asthma challenge study
  • Polysomnography (sleep studies)
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy
  • BRAVO reflux testing
  • Esophageal dilatation
  • Gastrointestinal BoTox injections
  • Modified swallow studies
  • Upper GI barium studies

Gastroenterology:

  • Multichannel Intraluminal Impedance Testing
  • High Resolution Esophageal Manometry with Impedance
  • Intraesophageal Pressure Monitoring to detect Cough
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy
  • BRAVO reflux testing
  • Esophageal dilatation
  • Gastrointestinal BoTox injections
  • Modified swallow studies
  • Upper GI barium studies

Research

In addition to patient care, our team contributes heavily to the medical and scientific research being done to improve aerodigestive medicine. Members of the Aerodigestive Center have received National Institute of Health and Foundation funding to support the work they do to advance the understanding of the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of aerodigestive disorders. Current research initiatives include:

  • Improving the quality of care in the aerodigestive patient
  • Validating clinical algorithms for the multidisciplinary approach to managing aerodigestive cases
  • Developing biomarkers (a useful way of finding genetic causes for diseases) for aerodigestive disorders

If you are interested in learning more about, or participating in, one of our studies, please contact a member of our staff.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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