“The patients were so incredibly sick—a level I have not seen since the swine flu in 2010,” says Brien.
Explore This Program
Eosinophilic esophagitis is an increasingly recognized disorder of the esophagus that can affect patients of any age, and typically presents with difficulty swallowing, food getting stuck and sometimes chest pain or an abnormal sensation in the chest and upper abdomen.
The eosinophil is a specialized type of immune cell that plays an important role in many allergic disorders, and eosinophilic esophagitis is associated with an abnormal accumulation of eosinophils in the lining of the esophagus.
About This Program
At the Adult Eosinophilic Esophagitis Program at Mass General, a core multi-disciplinary care team with members from Gastroenterology, Allergy/Immunology and Nutrition works with patients to provide expert diagnosis, leading-edge medical interventions and personalized, ongoing care to help patients manage their eosinophilic esophagitis. We are one of the few comprehensive, multidisciplinary programs in New England dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of adult patients with eosinophilic esophagitis. Our team of providers has been recognized both nationally and internationally for groundbreaking research and outstanding patient care. Massachusetts General Hospital is ranked among the nation's top hospitals for gastroenterology, with Magnet award-winning nurses providing patients with compassionate, timely care.
Other key members of the team include dermatologists, rheumatologists and gastrointestinal pathologists with expertise in eosinophilic disorders.
The mainstays of treatment for eosinophilic esophagitis include dietary changes and medications that suppress the eosinophils, as well as additional experimental therapies, which sometimes are used for related disorders such as asthma. We individualize treatment approaches for each patient based on his or her disease, the results of allergy testing and initial response to therapy. Team members conduct a biweekly interdisciplinary conference to discuss patients’ needs, treatment and progress. They also work closely with both the patient and the referring physician to coordinate a care plan designed to offer the best outcomes.
All of our physicians at the Adult Eosinophilic Esophagitis Program are actively involved in research programs aimed at understanding the underlying causes of EoE, with the goal of developing more effective treatment approaches.
Personalized Treatment Begins with Advanced Diagnostics
We offer the full range of endoscopic diagnostic procedures critical for obtaining a tissue diagnosis and differentiating eosinophilic esophagitis from other disorders such as reflux-related esophageal eosinophilia, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune enteritis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Our providers routinely perform diagnostic and therapeutic upper endoscopy in state-of-the-art ambulatory and inpatient facilities at Mass General to confirm the diagnosis and monitor response to treatment.
Evaluation often includes using food allergy skin testing as well as blood testing in an effort to understand the contribution of food allergens to a patient's underlying condition. For cases in which food allergens are a significant contributor to the disease, careful dietary elimination and food reintroduction can be used to identify the culprit allergens. Our team-based approach integrates information from allergy testing as well as endoscopy to craft an individual action plan to safely and effectively treat eosinophilic esophagitis.
Patient Education and Support
Patient education and support are important components of our mission. We are committed to helping patients understand their disease, assess their treatment options, participate in their treatment decisions and feel in control of their disease. Our physicians are experienced in fine-tuning medical therapies and helping patients obtain relief from persistent, difficult-to-manage symptoms.
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