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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Center to target digestive disorder

    A first-of-its-kind medical center geared toward treating children with aerodigestive disorders is set to open in November, according to the center’s pediatric team.

    The Children’s Aerodigestive Disorders Center will be unprecedented in the convenience and efficiency in its services, said Dr. Cori Daines, the center’s pediatric pulmonologist.

    The center’s unique status lies within its future standing as the only pediatric facility in the Southwest to provide several stages of aerodigestive treatment immediately in the same location, Daines said.

    Aerodigestive diseases involve hypertension and other complications mostly in the airway and digestive tract due to food allergies, the most common being allergies associated with milk, soy, wheat, peanuts and eggs.

    At other aerodigestive treatment centers, patients must travel to different institutions, often cross-country, for each method of treatment.

    “”This allows (children) to see more than one doctor in one visit,”” said Michael Daines, the center’s pediatric allergist and immunologist. “”It’s unique in its convenience.””

    “”This is a great advance for us to be able to take care of kids who need our help,”” Cori Daines added. “”It’s difficult to take care of (children) because of communications between doctors. This way, doctors can collaborate all at once to come up with a plan.””

    After receiving allergy testing upon entering the center, patients will be sent to an airway specialist who determines the relation between the airway, the digestive tract and the allergy. A nutritionist or dietician will then decide the actions necessary in order to initiate proper treatment.

    It is crucial to catch and treat aerodigestive diseases early in a patient’s life, as the disorders can result in improper growth and nutrition for children, said Dr. Fayez K. Ghishan, the center’s pediatric gastroenterologist.

    “”(Aerodigestive disorders) could be detrimental to children’s well-being,”” Ghishan added. “”We are trying to help these children by opening our doors to all kids in Arizona and surrounding states.””

    An integral element to developing a successful institution is assembling an accomplished team, Ghishan said. Ghishan comes into the center as director of the UA Steele Children’s Research Center while Michael Daines is the only allergist and immunologist in Arizona, coming off a stint in Cincinnati at one the country’s premier children’s hospitals. The team’s experience is one reason Ghishan expects the center to be a thriving institution.

    “”We have a very dedicated and experienced team that wants to help (children),”” Ghishan said.

    Because Arizona has a higher number of aerodigestive disorder cases than most states, it is essential that those living in and around Arizona have a place to go to for treatment.

    “”This is a very badly needed facility,”” Ghishan said. “”Gastro-intestinal food allergies are becoming a large problem here, and this is an important step to address that problem.””

    The center is particularly useful for children dealing with cell-mediated food allergies. These allergies yield a delayed reaction whose effects may not be seen for up to four weeks, Michael Daines said. Patients living in the Southwest would previously have to make an extra visit to the nearest center a month after initial visits in order to combat this postponed sensitivity. There will no longer be such an inconvenience, he added.

    The significance of the facility goes far beyond convenience. The goal of the institution is to ultimately give children the opportunity to continue on with a healthy life, said Ghishan.

    “”We just want to really make a difference in the kids’ lives,”” Cori Daines said.

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