The Aerodigestive Center

What is the Aerodigestive Center?

The Aerodigestive Center provides an opportunity for a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and management of children with breathing and feeding issues. Patients are evaluated by a Pediatric Otolaryngologist (ENT), Pediatric Pulmonologist and Pediatric Gastroenterologist in conjunction with a Dietitian, Speech Therapist, Respiratory Therapist, Social Worker and Nurse. The service enables the convenience of a single clinic visit for the patient to see all the above specialists and support for a coordinated and streamlined care plan – including coordinated flexible and rigid bronchoscopy as well as upper gastrointestinal endoscopy under single anesthesia. The evaluation is intended to be a consultative service to referring providers and patients.

Services Provided:

  • Multidisciplinary evaluation and management of patients with breathing and feeding issues.
  • Scheduling of a combined appointment, at one location, to see all doctors and care providers, which allows for the development of a collaborative treatment plan.
  • Coordination of surgical procedures to limit anesthetic exposure for children and allow for comprehensive evaluation.
  • Continuity of care throughout the entire length of treatment with ongoing support from clinical team in between clinic appointments.

Team Members:

Pediatric Otolaryngology – James Attra, MD; Stacey Clark, MD
Pediatric Pulmonology – Danielle Beachler, MD; J. Brian Kang, MD
Pediatric Gastroenterology – April Jones, CPNP
Nurse Practitioner – Allison Brown, CPNP
Nurse Program Coordinator – Katie Dillon, RN
Speech Pathology – Carmen Huston, ST; Ashley Kaspar, ST
Respiratory Therapy – Sara Goodson, RRT
Social Work- Vanessa O’Dell, LCSW
Clinical Dietitian – Kelsi Buckley, RD; Laura Salinas, RD

Location:

Marnie Paul Specialty Care Center, 4900 Mueller Blvd, Austin, TX 78723

Evaluation:

Clinic is held 3-4 days a month. On clinic day, the team assesses the patient and develops a plan of care. Medications, treatments, feeding plans, therapy, and diagnostic procedures are discussed with the patient’s parent/guardian. A discharge plan outlining the recommendations and orders are given to the parent. The nurse coordinator and interdisciplinary team members process and complete the patient plan. Contact with team members is welcome between clinic visits because fluid communication is key to the coordination and implementation of the comprehensive treatment plan. Bi-monthly team meetings are held with the providers to discuss patient progress and needs.

Conditions Treated:

  • Conditions involving airway dysfunction in conjunction with upper gastrointestinal symptoms and/or comorbid respiratory conditions
  • Congenital airway abnormalities (e.g. tracheo-esophageal fistula, laryngeal cleft, airway stenosis, preparation for airway reconstruction surgery, central and obstructive apnea)
  • Laryngomalacia with associated breathing and feeding issues or failure to thrive
  • Tracheo-bronchomalacia
  • Dysphagia and aspiration
  • Evaluation, treatment and management of tracheostomy patients pursuing decannulation
  • Chronic cough or wheezing that has not responded to therapy as expected
  • Vocal cord paralysis and voice disorders
  • Gastrointestinal motility disorders associated with breathing and feeding difficulty
  • Feeding and respiratory issues in neuromuscular disorder patients
  • Eosinophillic Esophagitis
  • Esophageal stricture

Procedures Performed:

  • Diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy (rigid microlaryngoscopy, rigid/flexible bronchsocopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy)
  • Complex open airway reconstruction
  • Endoscopic airway reconstruction
  • Esophageal pH and impedance probes
  • BRAVO capsule
  • Esophageal manometry
  • Functional Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing; Video-fluoroscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES)

Referral Form