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Swallowing Problems
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

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Scott Gabbard, MD

  • Gastroenterologist
  • Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Siva Raja, MD, PhD

  • Thoracic Surgeon
  • Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Affecting more than 15 million Americans, swallowing and esophageal disorders can range in severity and be chronic concerns that plague daily life. However, disorders such as esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett’s esophagus and achalasia often can be treated successfully before long-term damage occurs. Please join us to have your questions on swallowing disorders answered by Cleveland Clinic gastroenterologist Scott Gabbard, MD, and Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute thoracic surgeon Siva Raja, MD, PhD.

The esophagus is a tubular neuro-muscular organ that carries what we eat or drink from the throat into the stomach. This process requires a healthy esophagus which can be affected in many different ways. The esophagus can be damaged from acid reflux, infections, medications, radiation, benign or malignant tumors, surgical procedures, neuromuscular diseases and many other causes. The most common symptoms arising from the esophagus are swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) and painful swallowing among other conditions.

Fortunately, in many cases swallowing disorders are temporary issues that can be managed with over-the-counter medicines and lifestyle changes. But for other patients, swallowing disorders are chronic concerns and can lead to more serious conditions. Many patients require occupational or physical therapy to learn exercises and swallowing techniques to improve their conditions. Medications, esophageal dilation and surgery are reserved for patients who need further treatment to overcome swallowing disorders.

Scott Gabbard, MD, is a gastroenterologist who supports our Gastroenterology and Hepatology department under the Digestive Disease & Surgical Institute. Dr. Gabbard completed his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and attained his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in gastroenterology and hepatology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Dr. Gabbard’s specialty interests include achalasia, eosinophilic esophagitis, esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), and swallowing disorders.

Siva Raja, MD, PhD, is a thoracic surgeon in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Raja has performed more than 3,500 surgeries throughout his career, including 2000 thoracic surgeries. Since 2013, he performed around 100 laparoscopic heller myotomies or POEM procedures to treat patients with achalasia. Dr. Raja has performed more than 1100 surgeries since his Cleveland Clinic appointment in 2012. He specializes in esophageal surgeries including Laparoscopic Heller Myotomy, POEM which is an incision-less technique to treat achalasia. His specialty interests include achalasia, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, hiatal hernia, cancers and tumors of the chest and chest wall, minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery, and general thoracic surgery.

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