Our Approach

Our Approach

The Heartburn, Reflux & Esophageal Specialty Center at Stamford Health is the region’s first truly multidisciplinary center dedicated solely to adult esophageal disorders.

We have assembled a team of physicians, all dedicated to treating patients with heartburn, reflux, and all other problems associated with the esophagus—the muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach.

Our team strives to understand your symptoms, determine the cause of your problem and provide the best treatment. After your initial consultation, you may need a diagnostic procedure to better evaluate your problems.

Depending on your symptoms, you might might visit one or more specialists. This could include a:

  1. Gastroenterology Consultation: to ensure any digestive system issues that occur with esophagus problems are properly treated.
  2. Pulmonary Evaluation: for any breathing concerns or symptoms like cough or reactive airway disease.
  3. Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) evaluation: for symptoms like hoarseness, throat clearing, and persistent mucous.

When patients have an usual esophagus condition or additional health problems our multidisciplinary conferences bring together experts from several medical areas to discuss testing and treatment options and determine the best and safest care.

If surgery is a potential treatment, a surgical consultation evaluates the best surgery option for a patient’s overall health and specific esophagus problem.

While medication may be the right choice for you, some patients may benefit from a procedure to correct the underlying condition and prevent progression of their disease.


Why Choose Us

Our team is focused on finding and treating the cause of your heartburn or other esophagus problem—not just the symptoms.

  • Our physicians bring special skills and experience to treating more complex problems, helping you get an accurate diagnosis of your condition and the right treatment.
  • The Center provides coordinated care. Our physicians can all access your medical records electronically, streamlining paperwork for you, and ensuring that test results and other important information are shared with all your Center providers.
  • We refer you to board-certified specialists, saving you the legwork. Board-certification ensures that our physicians have rigorous training and expertise in their specialty areas and stay up to date on best practices and proven treatments.
  • The Center provides the most advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies and procedures with the goal of making diagnosis quicker, more accurate, and often less invasive.
  • Our team specializes in minimally invasive treatments that typically reduce complications and allow shorter surgeries, hospital stays, and post-treatment recovery periods.
  • Patients who need surgery receive state-of-the-art treatment at Stamford Hospital. The hospital provides the most advanced care and exceptional patient experience in a safe, warm, and welcoming environment.

Symptoms of Heartburn

Symptoms of Heartburn

Some symptoms are considered nothing more than a nuisance. But the truth is that they may indicate serious chronic diseases which can progress with time.

Many have heartburn and reflux symptoms, while others may experience coughing, hoarseness, and throat discomfort. Some even progress to pneumonia, complete inability to swallow, and severe malnutrition.

Common symptoms:

  • Frequent heartburn, or a burning sensation in the chest or throat
  • Chest pain
  • Regurgitating food or stomach contents into the mouth

Less common symptoms:

  • Chronic sore throat or chronic cough
  • Pain that radiates from the chest to the arms, neck, or back
  • Sudden excessive saliva or foaming at the mouth
  • Laryngitis or a hoarse voice
  • Difficulty or pain while swallowing
  • Choking or retching at night

Conditions We Treat

Conditions We Treat

At the Heartburn, Reflux and Esophageal Specialty Center at Stamford Health, we're experienced in treating a wide range of conditions through our multidisciplinary care.

You'll work with a team of dedicated physicians, all focused on treating your heartburn, reflux, and other problems of the esophagus. We strive to understand your symptoms and treat your condition to get you back to the life and activities you enjoy. Common conditions we treat include:

Barrett’s Esophagus: A condition in which damage to the lining of the esophagus (from chronic GERD or other diseases) leads to the presence of abnormal cells.

Diverticulum: A pouch in a weak area of the lining of the esophagus that can increase in size and cause difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation, choking, and other health problems.

Dysphagia: Difficulty in swallowing that may be due to a blockage of the esophagus, a problem with the valve between the esophagus and stomach, or a problem with the muscles of the esophagus, among other causes.

Esophageal Achalasia: A swallowing problem caused by the loss of the nerve cells that control the swallowing muscles in the esophagus, so food and liquid cannot pass through easily.

Esophageal Cancer: Cancer that starts in the esophagus and can progress throughout the body. When discovered early, a cure is possible.

Esophageal Spasms: Strong and irregular contractions of the muscles in the esophagus, which may cause severe pain and, in some cases, can prevent food or liquid from reaching the stomach.

Esophageal Stricture: A narrowing of the esophagus, often from scar tissue, that may cause choking and swallowing problems.

Esophagitis: Irritation of the lining of the esophagus, which may be caused by chronic acid reflux, some medicines, allergies, and infections; long-lasting esophagitis can result in damage to the lining of the esophagus, known as Barrett’s Esophagus.

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease): A condition in which acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus when the valve between the esophagus and stomach opens too often or too long, causing irritation, pain, and other symptoms.

Hiatal Hernia: A condition in which the top part of the stomach pushes up into the chest, getting pinched and letting stomach acid back up into the esophagus, which can cause heartburn, swallowing problems, and other symptoms. In the largest hernias, the entire stomach may be pushed into the chest, causing severe symptoms.

Your Treatment

Your Treatment

Diagnostic Procedures

If your consultation recommends a diagnostic procedure, our team offers a variety of advanced, minimally invasive options, such as:

Bravo pH Probe: Your doctor attached a small capsule to the esophagus to measure pH levels (acidity) and transmits them to a receiver, letting you record symptoms like heartburn while keeping a journal of activities and food.

Endoscopic Ultrasound: Your doctor fits an endoscope (a small, lighted tube with a camera) with a small ultrasound device that uses sound waves to provide high-quality, detailed images of the esophagus.

Esophageal Cancer Screening: Your doctor uses an endoscope (a small, lighted tube with a camera) to inspect the esophagus, remove small tissue samples to check under a microscope (biopsies), or use special dyes or light (spectroscopy) to help reveal early signs of cancer or cancer risk.

High-Resolution Esophageal Manometry: Your doctors passes a thin tube with pressure sensors through the nose and down the esophagus to measure how well the esophagus is working to move food to the stomach.

Radiology Services: Your doctor may order x-rays of your esophagus to get clearer x-ray images of the esophagus, to help diagnose and treat diseases early.

Upper Endoscopy: Your doctor uses an endoscope (a small, lighted tube with a camera) to examine the lining of the upper GI (gastrointestinal) tract, which may include the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine.

Medications do carry some risk, as well as cost. Current guidelines suggest using medication at the lowest possible dose for the least time possible to minimize risks. Potential risks associated with proton pump inhibitor medication include decreased bone density electrolyte and vitamin deficiencies, kidney disease, dementia, and infection.

The Center offers the latest procedures performed by the most experienced physicians. Some of these procedures include minimally-invasive operations for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), including laparoscopic operations and even completely incisionless procedures.

Some patients may be at risk for the ultimate complication of GERD—esophageal cancer. Although this remains a relatively rare cancer, it is the fastest growing cancer in incidence in the United States. We find patients who are at higher risk for the disease and can perform routine surveillance or even reverse the damage done to the inner lining of the esophagus.

Treatments

At the Heartburn, Reflux, and Esophageal Center, we strive to understand your symptoms and determine the actual cause of your problem. Although many people take medication to mask symptoms, some may require more advanced care with a specialist.

While medication may be the right choice for you, some patients may benefit from a procedure to correct the underlying condition and prevent progression of their disease.

Botox Treatment: Medication is injected into muscles of the esophagus to treat problems like muscle spasms and achalasia (a muscle problem that results in reflux of food and acid that can’t reach the stomach).

Dilation: A balloon is used to gently stretch (dilate) the narrowest part of the esophagus (sometimes called a stricture) and widen the opening of the esophagus.

Endoscopic Mucosal Resection: An endoscope and tiny instruments are used to remove tissue samples for diagnosis or to remove precancerous growths or early-stage cancer from the lining of the esophagus.

Endoscopic Zenker’s Diverticulum Repair: Completely incisionless repair of a blind pouch that can occur in the upper esophagus, causing regurgitation and difficulty swallowing.

Laparoscopic Fundoplication: A surgical procedure where small incisions on the abdomen are used to wrap and secure the top part of the stomach around the lower part of the esophagus to treat severe reflux and some types of hiatal hernias.

image of stomach

Laparoscopic Hiatal Hernia Repair: A surgical procedure where small incisions on the abdomen are used to repair a hiatal hernia, in which part or all of the stomach has moved up into the chest, causing reflux and other health problems.

Laparoscopic Esophageal Myotomy: A surgical procedure where small incisions on the abdomen are used to cut the abnormal muscles controlling the valve between the esophagus and stomach to treat achalasia, a disorder that causes severe swallowing problems.

Laparoscopic Magnetic Sphincter Augmentation (LINX): A new surgical procedure using small incisions on the abdomen to implant a small, expandable band of magnetic titanium beads around the esophagus to strengthen the valve between the esophagus and stomach, preventing reflux and other symptoms.

Radiofrequency Ablation for Barrett’s Mucosa: An endoscope allows a surgeon to use heat or radiofrequency energy to destroy diseased tissue in the lining of the esophagus (known as Barrett’s Esophagus) caused by chronic acid reflux.

Stenting: A hollow tube (stent ) is placed in the esophagus to keep a blocked area open, allowing better swallowing and preventing aspiration of food or liquids.

Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (EsophyX): An endoscopic (incisionless) procedure that can recreate a functional gastroesophageal valve (the valve between the stomach and esophagus) to eliminate or reduce GERD.

Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team

The Heartburn, Reflux, and Esophageal Specialty Center at Stamford Health is the region’s first truly multidisciplinary center dedicated solely to adult esophageal disorders.

We have assembled a team of physicians, all dedicated to treating patients with heartburn, reflux, and all other problems associated with the esophagus—the muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach.

Some symptoms are considered nothing more than a nuisance. But the truth is that they may indicate serious chronic diseases which can progress with time. Many have heartburn and reflux symptoms, while others may experience coughing, hoarseness, and throat discomfort. Some even progress to pneumonia, complete inability to swallow, and severe malnutrition.

Contact Us

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Schedule a Visit

A referral coordinator will streamline and coordinate your care, referring to an appropriate physician for your symptoms.

Call: 203-276-4373 9am - 5pm Monday - Friday

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