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In This Section Texas Health Fort Worth
Rehabilitation Information

Swallowing Disorders

Dysphagia (dis-FAY-ja)
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Causes

Problems or damage to the nervous system, head or neck such as:

  • Stroke, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Injury or surgery to the head or neck
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Cancer in the Mouth, Throat, or Esophagus
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)
  • Decayed/missing teeth, or Poorly Fitting Dentures

Signs & Symptoms

  • Wet Sounding Noise
  • Recurring Pneumonia
  • Increased Chest Congestion After Eating
  • Extra Effort to Chew/Swallow Food or Drinks
  • Coughing During or After Eating or Drinking
  • Food or Liquid Left in the Mouth After Swallowing

Risks of unaddressed swallowing disorders

  • Aspiration: food or liquid entering the airway (windpipe) which can lead to pneumonia
  • Poor nutrition or dehydration
  • Embarrassment or isolation in social situations involving eating

What can I do to get help with my swallowing difficulty?

Program Access
Referrals are accepted from physicians, insurance representatives and/or case managers. For more information, call 817-250-2797.

Prescription Pad
Follow this link to download a prescription pad. A physician signature is required prior to services being provided.

Parking
Free parking is available in the visitors parking garage which is connected to the hospital. Valet parking is also available as needed, and free to out patient rehabilitation patients as well as individuals with handicap placards.

 

Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS)
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What is the purpose of the MBS?

The purpose of the MBS is to determine how the muscles of swallowing are functioning and if aspiration (food or liquids going the wrong way into the lungs) occurs.

Based on the results of the examination, the speech-language pathologist may recommend changes in liquid or diet consistency, strategies to make the swallowing safer, or therapy to assist in increasing swallowing safety.

How is the MBS done?

The MBS is completed in radiology by the speech-language pathologist and radiologist.

As you are seated in the exam chair, you will have an x-ray camera positioned next to your neck. This will allow for a video to be taken while you are swallowing. The speech language pathologist will give you different amounts of liquids, puree foods or pudding, and solid food, all coated with barium so they can be seen clearly under x-ray.

How will I find out the results?

You will receive the results immediately following the evaluation, and a report will be sent to your doctor.

How long does the MBS take?

The appointment will last approximately 30 minutes which includes the 10-15 minute exam, time to explain your results, education on any strategies that are needed, and counseling on any other recommendations for safest swallowing.

Can I eat before the test?

Yes. You can eat and drink normally before and after the examination.

 

Fiberoptic Endoscopic Examination of Swallowing (FEES)
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What is the purpose of the FEES?

The purpose of the FEES is to determine how to muscles of swallowing are functioning and if aspiration (food or liquids going the wrong way into the lungs) occurs. 

Based on the results of the examination the speech-language pathologist may recommend changes in liquid or diet consistency, strategies to make the swallowing safer, or therapy to assist in increasing swallowing safety.

How is the FEES done?

The FEES is completed in-office by the speech-language pathologist. This test uses a fiberoptic endoscope, a small tube with a camera on the end, that is connected to a computer screen so that the study can be viewed and recorded.

As you are seated in the exam chair, the camera tube is placed in one of your nostrils, and is guided to the top of your throat. You may be given small amounts of liquids, puree food or pudding, and solid food, all coated with blue food coloring so they can be seen more clearly on the camera.

How will I find out the results?

You will receive the results immediately following the evaluation, and a report will be sent to your doctor.

How long does the FEES take?

The appointment will last approximately one hour which includes the 5-10 minute exam, time to explain your results, education on any strategies that are needed and on any other recommendations for safest swallowing.

Can I eat before the test?

Yes. You can eat and drink normally before and after the examination.

Please let us know if you have allergies to any food or food coloring, if you have a history of frequent nosebleeds, or if you are on a blood-thinning medication, so that we can schedule the most appropriate swallowing evaluation for you.

 

VitalStim
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What is VitalStim?

VitalStim is a swallowing program that requires certification by your speech-language pathologist.

VitalStim Therapy is an electrical stimulation device where electrodes are placed on the throat that send an electrical current to the muscles used while swallowing.

What is the purpose of the VitalStim?

The purpose of the VitalStim is to re-educate the muscles used in swallowing to potentially improve swallowing safety. 

 

Deep Pharyngeal Neuromuscular Stimulation (DPNS)
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What is DPNS?

DPNS is a swallowing program that requires special certification for your speech-language pathologist.

DPNS is a technique in which the speech-language pathologist uses frozen lemon swabs to stimulate areas in the mouth to re-introduce sensation to the throat. This is frequently used with people that have silent aspiration (food and drinks going to the lungs without coughing).

This information is intended as a resource for patients receiving care at Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth. It is not intended to substitute for medical advice from your health care team. If your doctor's instructions differ from this information, please talk with your doctor before making any changes. 

 

 

 

 

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