The Penn Medicine Center for Esophageal and Swallowing Disorders offers a coordinated, comprehensive approach to treat esophageal disorders, including:

  • Achalasia: A disorder affecting the ability of the esophagus to move food into the stomach.
  • Acid peptic disorders including:
    • Barrett's esophagus: A disorder in which the lining of the esophagus is damaged by stomach acid.
    • Eosinophilic esophagitis: An allergic inflammatory disease comprised of elevated eosinophils in the esophagus despite acid blocking treatments.
    • Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD): A condition that occurs when a muscle at the end of the esophagus does not close properly, allowing stomach contents to leak back — or reflux — into the esophagus and irritate it.
    • H. pylori gastritis: A bacteria found in the stomach that can cause a number of gastrointestinal problems.
    • NSAID ulcers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) irritate and damage the stomach's lining causing ulcers.
    • Hypersecretory states, including Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (as well as other gastrointestinal endocrine tumor syndromes).
    • Postoperative ulcer syndrome and other rare forms of acid-peptic disease.
  • Esophageal cancer: Though relatively uncommon in the United States, esophageal cancer occurs when there is a malignant tumor in the esophagus — the tube that carries food to the stomach.
  • Hoarseness: Difficulty producing sound to speak or a change in the pitch or quality of the vocal chords — usually caused by inflammation of the larynx, but sometimes indicating a more serious problem.

Millions of Americans complain of heartburn and acid reflux, or have difficulty swallowing. These mouth, throat or esophagus problems may be caused by:

  • Malfunctioning of physical structures
  • Damage to the nerves or muscles coordinating swallowing
  • Physical obstruction

Left untreated, esophageal and swallowing disorders can lead to serious problems. Early diagnosis and intervention are very important.

The multidisciplinary team at Penn includes:

  • Gastroenterologists
  • Gastrointestinal surgeons
  • Radiologists
  • Thoracic surgeons
  • Neurologists
  • Lung specialists
  • Swallowing therapists
  • Ear, nose, and throat specialists
  • Pathologists

Some esophageal disorders can be precancerous conditions. We work closely with the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania to provide a seamless continuum of care for patients.

In This Section

Treatment Team

View a list of Penn Medicine physicians who evaluate, diagnose, and treat esophageal and swallowing disorders.

Prepare for Your Appointment

Here is what you need to prepare for your appointment with a Penn gastroenterologist.

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