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Swallowing Disorders

2. Service


A normal swallowing process comprises several stages as food and liquid move from the mouth, down the back of the throat, through the esophagus and into the stomach. Problems with swallowing can occur at any of these stages, such as oral spillage due to difficulties in controlling liquid in the oral cavity when drinking, and choking due to food entering the airway when swallowed.

ENT Laser – A Decade of Excellence

  • Since 2003, our transdisciplinary team of speech therapists, consultant otorhinolaryngologist provided swallowing assessment using state-of-the-art fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES).
  • First private speech therapy institution providing VITALSTIM dysphagia treatment to a 1-year-old toddler with congenital oropharyngeal dysphagia, in 2005.
  • In 2009, our speech therapist volunteered for Hong Kong Cancer Fund in providing a series of rehabilitation seminars for patients with nasopharyngeal cancer and swallowing disorders.
  • To best meet our clients’ needs, our speech therapist extended our outreach evaluation and rehabilitation services to public and private hospitals, elderly homes, and households for the past ten years.

 Introduction

According to a study released by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority in Year 2005, over 50% of the elderly (>1000 subjects) were diagnosed to have swallowing disorders. Individuals with strokes, dementia and Parkinson’s disease are at high risk. Aspiration pneumonia, reduced body weight, malnutrition, dehydration are the possible consequences of swallowing disorders.
Speech Therapists can provide clinical swallowing assessment and rehabilitative training for individuals with difficulties in swallowing.

Symptoms of Swallowing Disorders:
  • Choking / Hardness to breath when swallowing
  • Gurly voice after swallow
  • Food stuck in throat
  • Frequent oral retention / Prolonged meal time (1 hour+)
  • Frequent drooling / oral spillage when drinking liquids
  • Persisting low-grade fever / Pneumonia
  • Poor appetite
The most common symptom of swallowing difficulties is choking. However, some patients may not show obvious symptoms (e.g. no coughing when aspiration occurs). Please consult your Doctor or Speech Therapist for professional diagnosis.

 Assessment

  • Bedside Assessment
Swallow test with different food consistencies to look for signs of aspiration.
  • Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS) / Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS) / "X-ray"
    • a video X-ray examination procedure that provides objective information on the food bolus transport process from the oral cavity to the esophagus
    • compensatory strategies for more effective swallow may also be assessed
  • Fiberoptic Endoscopic Examination of Swallowing (FEES)
a dynamic laryngopharyngoscopic examination of swallowing abnormalities and aspiration.

 Treatment

  • Recommendations on feeding mode, posture, food consistency and swallowing techniques
  • Training on the strength and coordination of oral and laryngeal muscles for swallowing
  • Training on swallowing reflex through Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation (DPNS) techniques
  • Electrical stimulation on muscles responsible fore swallowing through Vitalstim Therapy
MoreClient's Sharing
“ 1-year-6-month-old pre-term baby failed to be oral-fed, acquired 60% success rate in oral feeding trials after 28 sessions of Vitalstim therapy sessions.