In determining what is best for your patients, I know you have options when it to the evaluation and treatment of problems related to gastroesophageal reflux and esophageal motility disorders. There are other programs that will use terms such as, “state-of-the-art” and “comprehensive,” but I feel the most important is experience and years of concentrated expertise.
My fellowship training in advanced laparoscopic surgery had a heavy focus on gastric and esophageal surgery. Subsequently when I started my private practice I recognized that the evaluation of my own patients prior to anti-reflux surgery, paraesophageal hernia repair and Heller myotomy for achalasia was a very time consuming and frustrating affair. This motivated me to gain the skills and equipment to fully evaluate my patients and reduce the burden and challenges of sending my patients to distant and largely unresponsive tertiary centers. The result has been the establishment of the Heartburn Center which quickly became a resource for the evaluation of patients from gastroenterologists and general surgeons. We rapidly became acquainted with our colleagues in primary care, otolarynecology, pulmonary medicine and cardiology as our diagnostic capabilities allowed us to determine why their patients had refractory chest pains, asthma, globus, dysphagia and nausea despite standard medical management.
When I decided to move the bulk of my private practice here, the administration of Virginia Hospital Center quickly embraced the value of such a center and has provided enthusiastic support in terms of personnel, equipment and space in the hospital. The goals of the Center are to provide expert evaluation and care for patients who are identified as having illness related to reflux or esophageal motility disorders. By providing an organized approach for the patients and their referring physicians, we are able to streamline the evaluations, reduce frustration and improve their quality of life.
A critical member of this team is Susan McNeill-Smith, R.N. Between the two of us we have a combined 18 years of experience and have performed over 1,300 studies. She will be scheduling and performing the 24hr pH/esophageal motility studies in our center and facilitating physician appointments/ referrals and communication between the patients and physician. She also provides community education and can be reached at 703.717.4373 (GERD).
On a basic level all physicians will be able to order outpatient 24 hr pH studies, and esophageal motility evaluations for their patients. Additionally, we will be one of the few sites in the country to provide high resolution esophageal impedance testing. This is particularly important in evaluating cases of non-acid reflux and determining the severity of motility disorders. Self-referred patients will be evaluated by myself and a gastroenterologist (alphabetical rotation) for determination of appropriate studies. Obviously clinicians are free to direct their patients to Gastroenterologists/Surgeons of their choice. We will make preprinted order and instruction pads available for any physician who requests them to facilitate the process.
I am particularly proud to announce that based on my experience in this field our site has been chosen to be a “Center of Excellence” by Sandhill Scientific. This is the company that makes much of the equipment we will be using. As a result we will always have the latest versions of software and equipment. Many of your patients may find themselves in ground breaking studies not available elsewhere in the region.
If you should have questions or need more information about the Center, please feel free to call or page me.
Virginia Hospital Center
Surgeon: G. Kevin Gillian, MD, Director
1625 N. George Mason Drive
Arlington, VA 22205
P. 703-717-GERD (4373)