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The Aerodigestive Program at Texas Children’s Hospital is one of the few of its kind in the Southern United States. Our team is dedicated to the comprehensive and multidisciplinary management of children with complex airway and digestive tract disorders. Coordination of care between several different specialists can be challenging and time consuming, and unfortunately this burden too often falls on the patient and family.
The Aerodigestive Program is designed so that our complex patients can be seen by multiple specialists in a single visit which facilitates better communication, early diagnosis and faster, more comprehensive care. This collaborative approach provides several potential advantages for the patient and family:
- Patients are seen by all the necessary physicians and care providers at one appointment and one location.
- If an endoscopic evaluation is deemed necessary, the patient undergoes a coordinated exam which requires anesthesia only once, rather than multiple times for each specialty.
- After each evaluation, all physicians meet together to discuss and develop a collaborative treatment plan.
- The patient is treated as a whole, rather than individual symptoms, with a focus on continuity of care and communication with the family.
During their initial appointments, patients will see specialists from pediatric otolaryngology, pulmonary medicine and gastroenterology, and may see other specialists such as Speech Pathologists and nutritionists based on each individual patient’s need. Additional testing (swallow function study, pulmonary function test, etc.) may also be coordinated on the same day. A joint diagnostic evaluation with all 3 specialists in the operating room may be recommended, which is typically coordinated to take place the day after the clinic appointments. After the evaluation, the physicians will meet together to discuss the clinical concerns of each patient and the initial findings.
A unique treatment plan is developed for each patient, which is then communicated to the family by our clinical coordinator. Detailed letters for the patient’s primary care physician will also sent in a timely manner shortly after the appointments and evaluation.
The Future of Otolaryngology at Texas Children’s Hospital