We don’t usually think much about what happens to our food after we take a bite. But its complicated journey through the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas and intestines is fraught with potential peril, and when pains have you gripping your stomach or clutching your chest, this is where to go for help. Named Best in the Region in the U.S. News & World Report digestive diseases category, Penn’s Digestive and Liver Center evaluates and treats Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, unexplained diarrhea, acid reflux, GERD, ulcers, hepatitis C, stomach, pancreatic and colorectal cancers, and anything that can go awry in the 100 functions performed by the liver. Its clinical studies are linked to basic research in five primary areas: imaging, endoscopic technology, drugs, molecular studies and genetic investigations. (38th and Market streets, 3400 Spruce Street, 250 King of Prussia Road, Radnor, 800-789-PENN, pennhealth.com/gi).
The 30-year-old pharmaceutical rep was sent to the Jefferson Digestive Disease Institute by an infertility specialist who’d been trying for two years to help her conceive; she had a low blood count that her doctor thought was related to a lack of iron. But the Jeff GI specialist discovered she had a serious wheat allergy called celiac disease. A dietician put her on a gluten-free diet, and within a year, her blood tests were normal and she was on her way to having a baby. That’s the sort of careful examination patients can expect at this a multidisciplinary center, listed 29th for digestive disorders by U.S. News and World Report. Five doctors here have been named Physician of the Year by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and two others were given the same honor by the American Liver Foundation. Twenty-nine scientists are currently involved in more than 23 active trials to ferret our new preventions, detections and treatments. Last year, the transplant program replaced 51 diseased livers with healthy ones (132 South 10th Street, 215-955-8900, Jefferson.edu/gi).
The Temple Digestive Disease Center at Temple University Hospital, located in a new, spacious 18,000-square-foot facility, gives patients access to all the knock-your-socks-off high-def screening tools — digital endoscopy, endosonography, digital fluoroscopy, acid monitoring, and other unpronounceable methods for studying how food makes its way through the digestive system. Its docs routinely appear on national “best” lists and publish in all the premiere medical journals, particularly in the field of gastric, esophageal and colonic motility. Whenever possible, the surgical team operates through laparoscopes, to send patients home faster with fewer complications. The center conducts one of the largest gastric pacemaker programs in the country and operates its kidney transplant program in conjunction with Crozer Chester Medical Center, to serve patients in Delaware and Chester counties who want to remain closer to home. Physicians here like to say, “When all else fails, Temple still has something to offer” (Ambulatory Care Center, 3401 North Broad Street, third floor, 800-TEMPLE-MED, digestive.templehealth.org).