Acid Reflux Disorders/GERD
Acid is normally produced in the stomach to aid in digestion. When this acid refluxes up into the esophagus and causes symptoms, a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs. GERD, which affects approximately 20 percent of the US population, is associated with a weak lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that prevents food from climbing up the esophagus from the stomach), and/or a laxity in the diaphragmatic opening separating the chest from the abdomen.
Symptoms of GERD can include heartburn, chest pain, hoarseness, chronic cough, asthma, and pneumonia. Complications of prolonged acid exposure include ulcers in the esophagus, esophageal strictures, Barrett’s metaplasia (cells in the esophagus change to more stomach-like cells), and esophageal cancer. At Mount Sinai, our esophageal cancer team employs a multidisciplinary approach (multiple experts who collaborate on each patient’s case) to the diagnosis, treatment and follow up of patients who are affected by swallowing and reflux disorders. Experts from gastroenterology, otolaryngology, speech and swallowing therapy, thoracic surgery, medical and radiation oncology and radiology work together with patients to determine the optimal and least invasive treatment plan.