Clinical Research on Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing Disorders

The Duke GI Esophageal Group treats patients with esophageal diseases and swallowing disorders, including eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), motility disorders such as achalasia, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as well as its associated complications including Barrett’s esophagus (BE).

Our physicians are at the forefront of research in our field and have a wide portfolio of ongoing studies, which focus on clinical outcomes, care delivery and health services research as well as quality improvement. We are currently recruiting and enrolling patients for multicenter clinical trials to treat patients with symptomatic reflux disease (GERD) as well as eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).  Clinical research at Duke University and the Durham VA Medical Center that focuses on how esophageal diagnostic modalities and metrics can enhance the care of patients with esophageal symptoms and disorders, such as the spectrum of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), achalasia and other esophageal motor disorders, and eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). We are interested in maximizing the utility of technologies such as esophageal high-resolution manometry (HRM), pH-impedance reflux monitoring, and the endoscopic functional lumen imaging probe (FLIP) in clinical care.

Faculty:  David Leiman, MD, MSHP,  Amit Patel, MD 

Basic / Translational Esophageal Research

Our basic and translational research relates to esophageal injury, repair, metaplasia and carcinogenesis. We are interested in how certain hormones, such as gastrin, affect esophageal wound healing and acinar ductal metaplasia. This is an important research area because proton pump inhibitors can cause elevations in gastrin levels. In some models, high gastrin levels have been associated with metaplasia and cancer. We are one of the very few research groups focused on esophageal submucosal glands and we use well-characterized human samples as well as in vivo and in vitro porcine models to study the esophageal submucosal glands and their role in wound healing. Our group was the first to describe acinar ductal metaplasia, a premalignant condition in other organs such as pancreas, in the esophagus. We collaborate with NCSU and UNC's CGIBD. We partner closely with Duke Pathology.

Faculty:  Katie Garman, MD,  Garman Lab