The clinical and research interests of Karthik Ravi, M.D., are in esophageal disorders. In particular, his studies focus on understanding the mechanisms of and treatment for esophageal motility disorders. In addition, Dr. Ravi is interested in the diagnosis and treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis as well as new diagnostic modalities to assess gastroesophageal reflux.
- Effects of opioids. Opioid medications are commonly used in the general population for a myriad of complaints. Anecdotal evidence suggests that opioids can have significant effects on esophageal motility, mimicking well-defined disorders including achalasia. Dr. Ravi is interested in delineating the true effect of opioids on esophageal dysmotility and outlining how best to treat patients who are unable to discontinue opioid medications.
- Achalasia. Achalasia is perhaps the best-defined esophageal disorder. However, because of its relative rarity, little is truly known regarding the natural history of this condition. Dr. Ravi is interested in better understanding the course of this disease in order to better define optimal management.
- Esophageal manometry. Esophageal motility disorders are currently diagnosed primarily using esophageal manometry. However, these tests can often yield nonspecific results that are abnormal but do not fit a well-defined clinical entity. Dr. Ravi is interested in better characterizing findings on esophageal manometry to guide appropriate management for patients.
- Allergy patch testing. Eosinophilic esophagitis is a condition associated with swallowing problems that is believed to be related to a food allergy. However, current testing for food allergens does not correctly identify the causative food. As a result, treatment is often with medication rather than dietary therapy. Dr. Ravi is investigating whether a different form of allergy testing, called allergy patch testing, can identify the causative foods in eosinophilic esophagitis and can guide successful dietary therapy.
- Diagnostic complications. Diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis can be complicated by the fact that other conditions, namely gastroesophageal reflux, can lead to esophageal eosinophils. Dr. Ravi is currently investigating whether measurement of the esophageal mucosal integrity can reliably distinguish the two conditions. In addition, this finding may help guide treatment in patients with eosinophilic esophagitis.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Ravi's research aims to better characterize disorders to optimize patient care. His work looks to optimize diagnosis of patients with symptoms such as chest pain and those with swallowing problems to determine the optimal treatment. He also is interested in identifying optimal treatment strategies for patients with eosinophilic esophagitis to provide the best long-term outcome.