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Esophagus and Vocal Cord Conditions

The allergy, asthma, and immunology specialists at UPMC in central Pa. diagnose and treat conditions that affect the esophagus and vocal cords.

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for treatment of esophagus and vocal cord conditions?

At UPMC in central Pa., we provide expert treatment for conditions of the esophagus and vocal cords, including eosinophilic esophagitis (EE or EoE) and vocal cord dysfunction (VCD). Our specialists offer a full range of tests and treatments, including:

Diagnostic Tests for Esophagus and Vocal Cord Conditions

  • Skin testing. Skin testing, also called scratch testing, exposes your skin to small amounts of allergy-causing substances (allergens) and can identify allergy triggers, such as pollen, foods, dust mites, pets, and mold, that may be causing an allergic reaction.
  • Pulmonary (lung) function tests. Lung function tests are noninvasive and provide information about how well your lungs are working. There are several types of lung function tests, including:
    • Spirometry. A spirometry test measures how much air your lungs can hold and how forcefully you can breathe out.
    • Lung volume test. A lung volume test measures the volume of air in your lungs and how much air is left in your lungs at the end of a normal breath.
  • Blood tests. Blood tests measure the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in your blood that are specific to certain allergens. Although blood tests are not as exact as skin tests, your doctor may use them in combination with skin tests to diagnose and treat allergies.

Medications for Esophagus and Vocal Cord Conditions

  • Medications may help to relieve symptoms that are caused by an allergy, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or other underlying health conditions. Your health care provider will let you know what type of medication is right for your condition.

Patient Education for Esophagus and Vocal Cord Conditions

  • Our specialists provide the education and information you need to manage your esophageal or vocal cord condition, including recommendations for avoiding foods that cause EoE and medication instructions.

Esophageal Conditions

What is eosinophilic esophagitis?

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE or EoE) is a chronic immune system disease that causes inflammation in your esophagus, which is the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. People who have EoE have high levels of blood cells called eosinophils that build up in their esophagus as a reaction to allergens or acid reflux. This buildup causes inflammation that can damage your esophagus.

What are the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis?

Damage to the esophagus as a result of eosinophilic esophagitis may cause difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and food getting stuck in the esophagus (impaction). Other symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • GERD symptoms that do not improve with medication
  • Chest pain that does not get better after taking antacids
  • Heartburn

Infants and children may experience these symptoms in addition to difficulty eating, vomiting, or poor growth/malnutrition.

Vocal Cord Conditions

What is vocal cord dysfunction (VCD)?

VCD occurs when your vocal cords tighten and close instead of opening normally when you breathe in and out. VCD can make it difficult to breathe. The main treatments for VCD are speech therapy, controlling triggers, and managing other health conditions such as asthma, post-nasal drip, and GERD.

What are the symptoms of VCD?

VCD is often mistaken for asthma because the symptoms are very similar. But unlike asthma, VCD is not related to an allergic response. Symptoms of VCD may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent cough or throat-clearing
  • A feeling of choking or suffocation
  • Noisy breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarse voice
  • A feeling of tightness in the throat or chest



Specialty Care ENT – UPMC
508 S. Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-334-8171
Fax: 717-334-8172

Specialty Care ENT – UPMC
250 Fame Avenue
Suite 201, (Entrance A)
Hanover, PA 17331

Phone: 717-633-9229
Fax: 717-633-5552

UPMC Allergy and Immunology
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
21 Waterford Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717-988-9180
Fax: 717-775-5723 


Need more information?

Many of our providers offer video visits. Call the office or schedule via your patient portal.

Phone: 717-988-9180

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