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Swallowing problems, diagnostics and treatments

Endoscopic video swallow research and swallowing disorders is the issue of the day. Oropharyngeal dysphagia can also be caused by esophageal cancer and head or neck cancer. It may be caused by an obstruction in the upper throat, pharynx, or pharyngeal pouches that collect food. Esophageal dysphagia is the feeling that something is stuck in your throat. This condition is caused by: spasms in the lower esophagus, such as diffuse spasms or the inability of the esophageal sphincter to relax, tightness in the lower esophagus due to an intermittent narrowing of the esophageal ring, narrowing of the esophagus from growths or scarring.

The primary goals of dysphagia intervention are to safely support adequate nutrition and hydration and return to safe and efficient oral intake (including incorporating the patient’s dietary preferences and consulting with family members/caregivers to ensure that the patient’s daily living activities are being considered); determine the optimum feeding methods/technique to maximize swallowing safety and feeding efficiency; minimize the risk of pulmonary complications; reduce patient and caregiver burden while maximizing the patient’s quality of life and develop treatment plans to improve safety and efficiency of the swallow. Read extra info on Swallowing Diagnostics South Louisiana.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia involves difficulty moving food to the back of the mouth and starting the swallowing process. This type of dysphagia can result from various nerve or brain disorders such as stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, cancer of the neck or throat, a blow to the brain or neck, or even dental disorders. Depending on the cause, symptoms may include drooling, choking, coughing during or after meals, pocketing of food between the teeth and cheeks, gurgly voice quality, inability to suck from a straw, nasal regurgitation (food backing into the nasal passage), chronic respiratory infection, or weight loss. Liquids are usually more of a problem in oropharyngeal dysphagia.

Liz has completed additional specialized training in treatment and management of dysphagia using endoscopy and working with tracheostomy/ventilator dependent and traumatic brain injury populations. Her professional areas of interest and expertise include adult dysphagia, cerebrovascular disorders, medically fragile, and end-of-life/palliative care. Liz has served as a Clinical Mentor for graduate students interested in the field of medical speech pathology and frequently guest lectures on a variety of topics relating to the Basics of Endoscopy, Medical Ethics, Supervision in Speech-Language Pathology, Counseling in Speech-Language Pathology, and Voice/Swallowing Disorders. She is actively licensed to practice in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Read additional info at