Your Child’s Airway Disorders Appointment
Making an appointment
Tell us about your child
We encourage you to call our office at 215-590-3440 to schedule your child's appointment. When you first contact the Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders, a member of our staff will gather basic information about your child, including contact numbers and insurance information. This message is then forwarded to our experienced nurse and nurse practitioners who will speak with you to get more in-depth information about the reason for your visit, your child, and answer any of your questions.
We are aware there are numerous insurance plans, especially since we see patients from around the country and world. We encourage you to speak with your insurance company and review our Billing and Insurance resources. Our airway program coordinator and financial team are happy to answer any further questions you may have about your benefit coverage. If a referral from your child’s primary care provider or pre-authorization is required by your insurance plan, please make sure you obtain these before your child’s visit to the Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders.
Share medical records
We may request copies of specific medical records and studies that your child has already completed. This will help us evaluate your child more thoroughly and work as a team with your child’s other specialists. We typically ask for the following records:
- Any operative reports and images
- Your last ENT office visit note
- Your last Pulmonary office visit note
- Your last GI office visit note
- The last office note from Cardiology, Endocrine, Neurology, Hematology, or Immunology, if your child is followed by any of them
- Images and reports from CT scans, MRIs of the head, neck, chest
- Reports from swallow studies, both radiology and speech language pathologists
- Recent respiratory cultures
- Growth charts and immunizations
This information can be faxed or mailed to:
Fax: 215-590-3986 (Add “attn: Jennifer Pizza” to fax cover sheet)
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Division of Otolaryngology/Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders
Attn: Jennifer Pizza
Philadelphia, PA 19104
All of the information provided regarding your child are reviewed and discussed at our Aerodigestive Multidisciplinary Conference before your child's appointment is scheduled. Attending this conference are ENT, GI, Pulmonary, Speech Language Pathology, Social Work, and the Airway coordinators. At the conference, a plan will be determined for your child’s visit. This plan will include the specialists your child should see or additional testing we may think helpful. A diagnostic evaluation in the operating room may also be planned.
Partnering with you
One of our Airway clinicians will call you with our plan of care. We will closely work with you in scheduling and coordinating appointments. Our team is always available to answer any questions or concerns.
Prepare for your visit
Once the appointments have been finalized with you, a letter is sent with key information. This letter contains the date and time of the appointments, location, as well as the physician’s name. There will also be helpful material regarding parking, arrival times, and items to bring to your appointment.
Your visit to our center is planned so that many different evaluations and tests can be done in as short a time as possible. If your child needs to be seen by several specialists, our Airway Coordinator will make these appointments. The details of your visit will be in the appointment letter that will be provided to you. The benefits in grouping appointments are:
- Collaboration: Every specialist will be involved early on ensuring that the entire airway team is well informed about your child’s condition. The team, working together with you, decides on the best care plan for your child in real time.
- Efficiency: Multiple appointments in one day eliminate the need for several trips to the hospital. This is especially beneficial for families with children who are medically fragile and have special needs. It reduces time off from work and school, and the amount of phone calls for making or coordinating appointments.
What to bring
Due to the number of appointments you may have that day, we recommend bringing with you some favorite toys, books or music to keep your child occupied, and some snacks.
If your child has a tracheostomy and/or feeding tube, please bring your emergency supplies. Your tracheostomy emergency supplies include suction and suction catheters, oxygen, airway supplies, pulse oximeter, same size tracheostomy tube, and your emergency size tracheostomy tube. Your feeding tube supplies include feeding equipment and formula. This is for your child’s safety and health.
If you're traveling to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) from a distance, your family members may need a local place to stay for a few days or longer. You have many options available. Learn more about places to stay near CHOP.
Day of appointment
Where to find us
The Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders sees patients on the 5th floor of the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care on the Raymond G. Perelman Campus, across the street from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Main Campus.
This includes your appointment with Pulmonary, GI and Speech. Parking is available in the garage beneath the building. View a map of our Main Campus, driving directions and more.
What to expect
Being new to the Airway Clinic, you may need to answer questions about your child’s health on a computer in the clinic. There will be time to do this prior to your appointment. If you signed up for MyCHOP, this questionnaire will be sent to you by email to complete at home. If you need a MyCHOP access code, please contact any of your CHOP providers to request one.
If your child needs to see ENT, GI, Pulmonary or Speech in the Airway Clinic, you will remain in the same hallway for those appointments.
Because accurate diagnosis is essential to planning treatment, we may perform or order additional tests during your child’s visit to establish or confirm a suspected condition. Testing may include:
In the office:
- Nasopharyngolaryngoscopy (NPL) or flexible laryngoscopy: Examining the inside of the larynx (voice box) and vocal cords with a flexible scope
- Functional Endoscopic Evaluation of the Swallow (FEES): Examining the swallowing process as it occurs by passing a thin, flexible fiberoptic scope through the nose to a position above the voice box and watching the passage of liquids or foods when the patient swallows
- Video stroboscopy: Detailed examination of the vocal cords using a pulsating light to examine vocal cord abnormalities
- Flexible tracheoscopy: Examining the trachea through a tracheotomy tube with a flexible scope
- Binocular microscopy: Examining the ears using magnification
- Respiratory cultures
- Speaking valve trial: Using pressure manometry, a small lightweight device to measure how much pressure or force it takes to move air from the lungs, to the nose/mouth
- Tracheostomy tube capping trial
On campus, outside the office:
- Hearing exam
- Chest X-ray or lateral neck film
- Airway fluoroscopy
- Upper GI: This is an X ray. Your child will drink formula with barium in it. The barium shows up on the X-ray. The radiologist watches the barium go down the food pipe (esophagus) into the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. This shows us the anatomy.
- Milk scan and gastric emptying scan: This is similar to the upper GI, but it looks for reflux. Your child takes a drink or a meal with added medicine that shows up on the X-ray. The doctor looks to see if the fluid or food goes up the food pipe (esophagus) from the stomach (reflux) or if it spills over in to the windpipe (trachea) or the lungs (aspiration). The doctor times how long it takes for the fluid or food to leave the stomach.
- Chest, neck or head CT scan with or without contrasts
- Chest, neck or head MRI scan with or without contrast
- Videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS)/modified barium swallow study with video
- Blood work
After your child’s appointment
We will send a copy of all of the specialists’ evaluations to your pediatrician and to any home specialists you would like to receive our information. Follow-up appointments with our center’s specialists and any surgeries our team recommends can be coordinated through our Airway coordinator.
Our team is available by phone at 215-590-3440 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to answer any questions or concerns you or your healthcare provider at home may have.