Children’s Mercy soon will be one of few health centers in the nation to offer a comprehensive program for patients suffering from GI motility disorders.
The program — expanded in 2006 by Jose Cocjin, MD, medical director of the GI Motility Program/GI Procedure — is growing once again and will offer new, state-of-the-art equipment at Children’s Mercy South.
The dearth of such programs means high demand, says Dr. Cocjin, also an associate professor of pediatrics at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.
“Getting into these programs can take months, and patients need to travel to these places,” he says. “The plan is to build a program that can see the patients quicker locally, regionally and nationally, and to provide the latest technology to determine the patients’ problems in a timely, efficient, comprehensive and family-centered manner. Moving testing to CMH South will allow us the space and time to perform the necessary tests and see these patients much sooner.”
The new equipment — paid for with a donation from Liberty Fruit Company — is to arrive by January and will be used to conduct motility studies several times a week. The hospital system already offers esophageal, antroduodenal, colon and anorectal manometry. Work is under way to develop an aerodigestive program to help children with feeding problems.
“These patients will need the services of a motility center to determine why they can’t eat,” Dr. Cocjin says. “The center will then collaborate with other services in developing treatment strategies.”
In addition, the hospital has a BRICK (bowel retraining in constipated kids) program, for which Dr. Cocjin is medical director, and motility studies will be used to further explore why patients have constipation or soiling.
Part of the comprehensive GI Motility program will involve collaboration with the aerodigestive program, the BRICK program and a newly formed intestinal rehab and transplant program.
Plans also include working with radiology — to develop, improve and validate tests that are new or haven’t been used widely — and other services, such as surgery, to help patients with conditions like Hirschsprung’s disease and imperforate anus.
“We are developing a biofeedback program to help retrain patients with both incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction,” notes Dr. Cocjin, who trained with national leaders in the field, Paul E. Hyman, MD, a motility specialist and chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology at New Orleans Children’s Hospital, and Carlo D’Lorenzo, MD, chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He also worked with adult GI expert Richard W. McCallum, MD, founding chairman of Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas.
“As we move along, we will coordinate with behavioral psychology and nutrition to help with the management of these programs as some of these patients have or will develop behavioral or nutritional problems,” Dr. Cocjin says.