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About SHED

The Swallowing, Heartburn and Esophageal Disease (SHED) Center provides both primary treatment and second opinion evaluations for benign throat, esophagus and stomach disorders.

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About the Program

As part of the Massachusetts General Hospital Digestive Healthcare Center, the Swallowing, Heartburn and Esophageal Disease Center (SHED) brings together a multidisciplinary team of gastroesophageal specialists who provide expert diagnosis, cutting-edge medical and surgical interventions and ongoing care for benign throat, esophagus and stomach disorders.

Our board-certified digestive health specialists work together to help patients diminish episodes of discomfort, including:

  • Chronic cough
  • Chronic heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Noncardiac chest pain
  • Postsurgical esophageal symptoms

Diagnosis and treatment may include a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, endoscopic therapies and, when appropriate, surgical procedures.

Mass General surgeons and gastroenterologists work collaboratively to provide comprehensive, personalized treatment for patients with gastroesophageal conditions. Our surgeons specialize in complex surgical techniques, such as Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF procedure) and magnetic sphincter augmentation (LINX procedure), which are both procedures for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and endoscopic myotomy (POEM procedure) for the treatment of achalasia. 

Advanced Diagnostic Motility Evaluation Services

The SHED team provides highly specialized, expert analysis for a range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Our endoscopists are available to confer with referring physicians. Diagnostic services include:

  • Endoscopic ultrasound, which creates an image of the esophagus using sound waves
  • High-resolution manometry, which measures pressure within the gastrointestinal tract using special sensors
  • Esophageal motility test, which measures the esophagus’s ability to move
  • pH probe testing, used to diagnose gastroesophageal reflux
  • Wireless Bravo pH testing
  • Impedance/pH testing to determine if stomach contents are coming up into the esophagus
  • EndoFLIP, cutting-edge technology for evaluating esophageal motility

Our diagnostic radiology team comprises dedicated imaging specialists whose practice focuses specifically on GI scans. They are nationally recognized for expertise in all forms of sophisticated imaging and offer a full range of advanced diagnostic techniques, including:

  • Fiber optic evaluations, which measures a patient’s ability to swallow
  • Video-fluoroscopic swallowing studies, which captures video X-rays after the patient has taken barium
  • Barium esophagrams, which captures images after the patient has taken barium, an element that helps with X-ray imaging
  • Speech pathology assessments to identify speech and language deficits

Leaders in the Medical Management of GI Motility Disorders and Surgical Treatment of GERD and Hiatal Hernias

SHED's collaborative physicians specialize in the surgical treatment of GERD and hiatal hernias. In addition, we are a leading resource for patients who have had previously unsuccessful antireflux operations.

As a high-volume center, we have achieved excellent results in repairing hiatal hernias and relieving patients of GERD symptoms. Nearly 75% of patients undergoing surgery can discontinue acid suppressive medications and more than 90% of patients undergoing surgery at Mass General expressed a high degree of satisfaction with their outcomes. [Source: D.W. Gee et al. (2008). Measuring the Effectiveness of Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication: Long Term Results. Archives of Surgery 43, 482–487.]

Easy Access for Patients and Referring Physicians

We pair patients and referring physicians with an experienced care coordinator who helps assess patient needs and coordinates all necessary appointments and tests.

All requests are triaged the same day, and the patient and referring physician will be called back to schedule an appointment within one business day. Patients and referring physicians may request an appointment online or call 617-724-1020 to speak with our care coordinator.

Clinical Research Studies and Trials

SHED physicians are active in clinical trials and research studies related to gastroesophageal and swallowing disorders, allowing us to bring our patients promising new treatments as quickly as possible.

Our surgeons have helped evaluate first generation endoluminal therapies, such as the NDO Plicator and the Bard EndoCinch Suturing System, involving minimally invasive surgeries performed through the esophagus. We are currently evaluating newer developments in this area such as the Esophyx Totally Intraluminal Fundoplication (TIF).

Grand Rounds

Massachusetts General Hospital’s Medical Grand Rounds is a CME-accredited weekly seminar series dedicated to improving patient care and presenting new approaches in medicine and surgery.

Contact Us

The Swallowing and Heartburn Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital Digestive Healthcare Center provides both primary treatment and second opinion evaluations for throat, esophagus and stomach disorders.