What to Expect at Your First Visit with the EAT Program

Many families who turn to us have been through long and challenging treatment courses at other health systems. They are looking for help. Our team is here for you, from the first evaluation through long-term follow-up. We will partner with your family to provide the medical and surgical care your child needs. We provide education and emotional support for your whole family.   

The first step is a comprehensive evaluation. This evaluation takes place in one day and in one place. Our nurse navigator and access coordinator will help streamline all appointments and procedures needed.

The evaluation includes a detailed review of medical records and any past surgical care. We will typically assign your child to an exam room and have all our specialists come to you. 

After the evaluation, our team will meet with your family to go over our findings. We will provide a more detailed understanding of your child’s condition and the path forward. We will talk with you about the goals you have for your child and discuss options for care to improve your child’s quality of life. We will also address any of your questions and concerns.  

In some cases, we may determine a patient is a good candidate for a surgical procedure after the evaluation. In other cases, we may focus on medical management while we run additional tests to determine surgical treatment options.

Additional testing to assess a child for surgical treatment may include: 

  • Upper airway scope with ENT (microlaryngoscopy/dynamic bronchoscopy)
  • Lower airway scope with Pulmonary (flexible dynamic bronchoscopy)
  • Scope of the esophagus (esophagogastroduodenoscopy/EGD) 
  • Chest CT angiogram to evaluate vascular structures around the esophagus and airway
  • Video swallow study
  • Pulmonary function testing (PFTs)
  • Dexa scan
  • Lab work 

Our goal is to review test results in a way that helps families understand what is happening with their child. We will explain what is causing symptoms and discuss possible treatment options. Many patients will have regular follow-up in our clinic to monitor symptoms and progress.

Long-term follow-up

Children with challenging esophageal and airway conditions can have many issues. They often need coordinated care from many specialists. They have frequent hospitalizations and need lifelong follow-up. 

Some children also struggle with related conditions, including: 

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Aspiration
  • Malnutrition
  • Oral aversion
  • Laryngeal cleft
  • Tracheomalacia (also known as tracheobronchomalacia or TBM)
  • Recurrent pneumonia
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
  • Congenital and acquired esophageal stricture
  • Barrett’s esophagus

Our EAT Program brings together all the technology and expertise children need over the short- and long-term. At first, patients come to our clinic for follow-up every three to four months. Over time, the schedule for follow-up is tailored to a child's unique needs as they progress and grow. 

Our team meets every week to discuss patient progress. This structure ensures coordinated care and streamlines the experience for families. 

Why Choose CHOP’s Esophageal and Airway Treatment Program

Why Choose CHOP’s EAT Program

Living with swallowing and breathing difficulties is hard. The EAT Program offers advanced treatment options for children with these complex conditions.

What to Expect at Your First Visit with the EAT Program

Many families who turn to us have already been through a long and rough treatment course at a different hospital and are looking for help. Our goal is to partner with your family from the start to expedite the process of moving your child’s care to the next level.