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Swallowing Center

If you are one of millions of Americans who complain about trouble swallowing or of frequent heartburn and acid reflux, you may benefit from the Swallowing Center at Loyola University Medical Center. Loyola's program offers state-of-the-art care for swallowing disorders, which can occur at any point in the journey from mouth to stomach.

These disorders include acid reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus, throat or mouth (a process that can cause inflammation of the esophagus, or esophagitis); chest pain; asthma and breathing problems; or ear, nose and throat complaints, including recurrent coughing.

Often, diagnosis and treatment require collaboration between surgeons, gastroenterologists, otolaryngologists, speech pathologists and pulmonologists. Loyola's multidisciplinary swallowing center provides this unique type of collaboration and is one of only a few in the United States that is solely devoted to diagnosing and treating these swallowing disorders.

Early treatment of such problems is very important; if left untreated they may lead to poor nutrition, unexplained weight loss, aspiration of food or fluids into the lungs, chest pain, asthma, and even esophageal cancer.

A number of conditions can lead to swallowing disorders, including aging, tumors of the neck and head, cervical spine diseases, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, scleroderma, esophageal strictures, radiation therapy to the neck, trauma, infections, myasthenia gravis, stroke and pharyngeal diverticula, a condition in which small pouches form in the esophagus.

Our medical experts use a full range of leading-edge technologies and therapies to diagnose and treat swallowing disorders. This specialized approach allows a personalized treatment for better care.

Tests and Treatments
Diagnostic tests offered at the Swallowing Center include:

High-resolution impedance/esophageal manometry (HIRM)
24-hour multichannel intraluminal impedance pH monitoring (MII pH)

Treatments offered at the Swallowing Center include medications or surgery. If surgery is required, surgeons in the Swallowing Center utilize a less-invasive treatment that offers a shorter hospital stay and less scarring over conventional large-incision techniques.