Swallowing problems (dysphagia) have been found to occur in approximately 13 to 14 percent of all hospitalized patients, 40 to 50 percent of patients in nursing homes and approximately 33 percent of the patients in rehabilitation centers. Among the more common reasons for swallowing problems are sudden onset neurologic damage (e.g. stroke, head injury or spinal cord injury), progressive neurologic disease (e.g. Parkinson's disease, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis), head and neck tumors and their treatment and medical problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and diabetes.
Patients with suspected swallowing problems should be carefully evaluated and appropriate treatment initiated in order to prevent complications from their swallowing disorders, such as dehydration, malnutrition, choking and pneumonia. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary's Communicative Sciences Center has been evaluating and treating patients with swallowing disorders since 1992. We provide complete diagnostic and therapeutic intervention in our technologically advanced Swallowing Laboratory. New instrumentation and training have spurred improved videoflouroscopic imaging, timing, and reading of the disordered swallow (procedures include fiberoptic endoscopic examination of the swallow (FEES), flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing (FEESST), electromyography, and the modified barium swallow).
Both pediatric and adult clinical assessments are conducted routinely both for the Head and Neck population and for patients with disorders related to GERD, trauma, neurogenic etiologies, and laryngeal incompetence. Treatments include:
- Compensatory Posturing
- Thermal Stimulation
- Therapy Techniques
- Adaptive Equipment EMG Monitored Swallowing
- Consideration of Medical-surgical Alternatives