Dysphagia

By on December 28, 2012
dysphagia

Difficulty in swallowing  (dysphagia) means that it takes more time and effort to move food  or liquid  from your mouth to your stomach . This symptom can occur at any age but is more common in older adult .

Dysphagia occurs  when there is a problem with the neural control or the structures  involved in any part  of the swallowing process. Weak tongue or cheek muscles may   make it hard to move food around in the mouth for chewing. A stroke or other nervous system disorder may make it difficult to start the swallowing response, a stimulus that allows food and liquids to move safely through the throat. Another swallowing disorder can be the passage of food the wrong way I e in to the larynx and trachea instead of the esophagus. Consequently, aspiration  pneumonia can develop in such cases. Some people present with “silent aspiration “and do not cough or show outward signs of aspiration. Dysphagia may also result from disorders of the esophagus The causes of swallowing  difficulties vary , and treatment depends on the cause.

Dysphagia assessment and treatment has not been given much importance in the current health care system . Amrita Dysphagia clinic (ADC) envisages a single platform for the multidisciplinary team members to identify and remediate feeding and swallowing disorders from infancy through adulthood. The focus of ADC is to provide family centered care with support through counselling, networking and training.

throat pain

The Amrita dysphagia   clinic offers a range of diagnostic procedures to determine the cause of swallowing problem. Tests depend on each  patients specific problem and on the results of a comprehensive interview and examination.

Evaluation may include :

  • Detailed  subjective  evaluation  of swallowing for all patients reporting to the dysphagia clinic complaining swallowing difficulty.
  • Flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) to assess the laryngeal function when the patient is swallowing
  • Rigid endoscopiy to assess laryngeal structure and function.
  • Videofluroscopy swallowing studies assess  the motor function of the upper digestive tract.
  • Bed side swallowing evaluation for all admitted patients having difficulty in swallowing

Rehabilitation may include:

  • Swallowing therapy for all clients requiring  rehabilitation of swallowing
  • Prosthetic management, medical and surgical management.
Article by,

Meera Suman, 

Swallowing pathologist, Amrita institute of medical sciences, Head and Neck department: Tower 1 Floor 4.

Image Courtesy : cbc.ca , sandiegolaserperio.info

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