Swallowing Disorders / Dysphagia

Dysphagia, or swallowing disorder, is a term used to describe the inability to move food from the mouth to the stomach. This condition can accompany a neurological disorder such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, Lou Gehrig's disease, or others, as well as bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. 

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

Dysphagia can occur at any of the 3 stages of swallowing:

  • Oral
  • Pharyngeal
  • Esophageal

A diagnosis may include:

  • Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES):
    • Flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) is a test performed to diagnose swallowing difficulties. FEES is performed with a thin, lighted camera known as an endoscope. The endoscope is placed into the throat before the patient consumes several different foods with food coloring that can be easily monitored as they travel down the throat. After the test, your doctor will discuss the results with you. If any issues were found, a customized treatment plan will be created for your individual condition.
  • Modified Barium Swallowing Study:
    • Also known as a cookie swallow or a videofluoroscopy, a modified barium swallowing study is performed to diagnose swallowing or speaking problems. You are not to eat or drink anything for a few hours before the exam. When you arrive for your modified barium swallowing study, you will be given a contrast solution to swallow, which will highlight the various structures associated with swallowing and speaking onto the fluoroscope used during this exam. To further pinpoint your exact condition, you will be asked to swallow numerous barium preparations of differing consistencies so that your doctor can watch the barium travel down your esophagus.
Symptoms
Treatment
Infographic

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