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Size and Prevalence of Pediatric Aerodigestive Programs in 2017

Gumer, Lindsey*; Rosen, Rachel; Gold, Benjamin D.; Chiou, Eric H.§; Greifer, Melanie; Cohen, Sherri||; Friedlander, Joel A.*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: May 2019 - Volume 68 - Issue 5 - p e72–e76
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002268
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Objective: Pediatric aerodigestive programs appear to be rapidly proliferating and provide multidisciplinary, coordinated care to complex, medically fragile children. Pediatric subspecialists are considered essential to these programs. This study evaluated the state of these programs in 2017 by surveying their size, composition, prevalence, and the number of patients that they serve.

Methods: The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Aerodigestive Special Interest Group leadership distributed an 11-question survey to the Pediatric Gastroenterology International Listserv. The mean time of the programs’ existence, number of half-day clinics, number of procedure days, number of patients evaluated, and the lead primary specialty were evaluated.

Results: Thirty-four programs responded. Twenty-five were based in academic centers. Thirty-one programs were located across the United States. The average time of program existence was 5.3 years (standard deviation [SD] = 4.3; range 1–17 years). Approximately 64.7% were started in the past 5 years. Twelve programs were based in the division of gastroenterology. The average number of gastroenterologists serving aerodigestive programs was 2 (SD = 1.1). The mean number of half-day clinic sessions and procedure days were 2.8 (SD = 2.9) and 2.6 (SD = 2), respectively. New and follow-up visits per year in each program averaged 184 (SD = 168; range 10–750).

Conclusions: Pediatric aerodigestive programs are prevalent, proliferating, and serve a large number of complex patients across North America and the world. This survey demonstrated that programs are predominantly based in academic settings. The number of patients cared for by aerodigestive centers varies widely depending on size and age of program.

*Aerodigestive Program, Digestive Health Institute, Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Aurora, CO

Aerodigestive Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA

Aerodigestive Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Children's Center for Digestive Healthcare, LLC, Atlanta, GA

§Aerodigestive Program, Texas Children's Hospital and Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Pediatric Gastroesophageal, Upper Airway, and Respiratory Diseases Center, Hassenfeld Children's Hospital, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY

||Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Joel A. Friedlander, DO, Lindsey Gumer, MD, MSc, Aerodigestive Program, Digestive Health Institute, Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado, School of Medicine, 13123 E 16th Ave, Aurora CO 80045 (e-mails:;

Received 8 October, 2018

Accepted 1 January, 2019

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text, and links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the journal's Web site (

Red Cap Supported by NIH/NCRR Colorado CTSI Grant Number UL1 TR002535. R.R. is funded through the NIH R01 DK097112 and the Boston Children's Hospital Translational Research Program.

J.A.F. is president, chief medical officer, and cofounder of Triple Endoscopy, Inc. He is listed as coinventor on University of Colorado patents pending US 62/184,077, US/ 62/732,272, PCT/US2016/039352, AU201683112, CA 2,990,182, EU 16815420.1, JP 2017-566710, US 15/850,939, US 15/853,521, US15/887,438, US 62/680,798 039352 related to endoscopic methods and technologies. The remaining authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2019 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,