Swallowing diagnostics and treatments assistance

Endoscopic video swallow research and swallowing disorders is the topic of the day. If you think you may have dysphagia, there are certain symptoms that may be present along with difficulty swallowing. They include: drooling, a hoarse voice, feeling that something is lodged in the throat, regurgitation, unexpected weight loss, heartburn, coughing or choking when swallowing, pain when swallowing, difficulty chewing solid foods. These sensations may cause a person to avoid eating, skip meals, or lose their appetite. In severe cases, you may be admitted to the hospital and given food through a feeding tube. This special tube goes right into the stomach and bypasses the esophagus. Modified diets may also be necessary until the swallowing difficulty improves. This prevents dehydration and malnutrition.

The body of literature about electrical stimulation for swallowing is growing, and additional studies are underway to further the knowledge about this technique and its implications for dysphagia treatment. Electrical stimulation is promoted as a treatment technique for speech and/or swallowing disorders that uses an electrical current to stimulate the nerves either superficially via the skin or directly into the muscle in order to stimulate the peripheral nerve. Electrical stimulation for swallowing is intended to strengthen the muscles that move the larynx up and forward during swallow function. Patients may benefit from the use of specific equipment/utensils to facilitate swallow function. A patient can use utensils to bypass specific phases of the swallow, to control for bolus size, or to facilitate oral control of the bolus. SLPs collaborate with other team members in identifying and implementing use of adaptive equipment. Discover extra info at Swallowing problems.

The first step in treatment is to make the proper diagnosis. This involves a medical history and various tests to find the cause of the dysphagia. Often a team approach to treatment is needed. Several types of health care providers — physicians, registered dietitian, psychologist, speech pathologist, occupational therapist — work together to develop the best program. An important part of the treatment is helping the patient get adequate nutrition, while protecting against complications such as pneumonia from food or liquid getting into the lungs. Obviously, this requires a specialized diet. There are five different diet levels from pureed (level 1) up through modified regular food (level 5). The diets vary in texture and consistency, and are chosen depending on which would be most effective for a specific patient.

Liz is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist based in New Orleans, Louisiana and the owner of Dysphagia in Motion. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees with honors from the University of Central Florida, with a dual-degree in Business Finance. In addition, Liz was granted a graduate certificate to serve English Learners with communication disorders through a research grant funded by the US Department of Education. See extra info at https://www.dysphagiainmotion.com/.