Dysphagia Difficulty Swallowing
Swallowing is a complex function involving the mouth, throat and esophagus.
The Speech Language Pathology Department at Hoag Hospital provides a comprehensive
approach to evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders caused by
stroke, and other neurologic disorders, cervical spine disease, head and
neck cancer, laryngectomy and weakness or damage to the muscles and nerves
used for swallowing.
Common complaints include:
- Aspiration of solid food or liquids
- Chronic choking, coughing, gagging or a sense of food “sticking”
in the throat
- Feeling of a lump in the throat
- Recurrent episodes of pneumonia or bronchitis
- Painful swallow
Initial assessment may include a Modified Barium Swallow Test which is
a videofluoroscopic x-ray assessment of the swallowing mechanism or Fiberoptic
Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES). These exams enable the clinicians
to identify the disorder and help guide the appropriate treatment program.
The goal of the program is to keep patients eating by mouth or to return
them to eating by mouth whenever possible.
Treatment may include:
- Identification of appropriate diet that specifies the thickness and consistency
of food and liquids than can be safely swallowed
- Provision of recommendations for optimal swallowing safety
- Development strategies including postural changes and other maneuvers to
- Instruction in appropriate oral hygiene
- Exercises for strengthening and improving coordination of the swallowing mechanism
- Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
- Family and caregiver training
A physician referral is required for the Modified Barium Swallow Test, Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation
of Swallowing (FEES) and for any specific treatments provided.
Please call 949-764-5645 today.