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Dysphagia Therapy in Denver, CO

Discover what dysphagia is and how it's evaluated. We offer top-notch Dysphagia therapy in Denver, CO.
Dysphagia is defined as "difficulty swallowing." Swallowing proceeds in three main phases (and locations): the oral phase (the mouth and area where chewing occurs), the pharyngeal phase (the throat at the back of the mouth behind the uvula and extending downward), and the esophageal phase (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach). The swallow mechanism's purpose is to close off the trachea (windpipe) and direct food, liquid, pills, and saliva to the esophagus (swallowing pipe).

When a patient's swallow muscles are not functioning properly, he or she can become at risk for other medical problems. One common, high-risk complication arising from dysphagia is aspiration pneumonia, a type of pneumonia caused when solids, liquids, and/or saliva enter the lungs (aspiration) and become a breeding ground for a lung infection.

Dysphagia Therapy in  Denver, CO

Getting Evaluated

If a patient appears to be at risk for this type of aspiration, his or her physician may refer the patient to a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or speech therapist (ST) for a swallow evaluation. There are two main types of instrumental swallow evaluations: (1) a modified barium swallow study (MBSS), also known as a videofluoroscopic swallow study or a video swallow and (2) a fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallow (FEES).

These two instrumental assessments identify whether the patient is aspirating material into the larynx, trachea, and lungs. These procedures also aim to trial various solid and liquid consistencies as well as strategies and techniques to see if swallowing can be made easier and safer for the patient. An SLP is the healthcare professional specialized in treating dysphagia. Other patient-care modalities of the SLP include voice, speech, language, and cognition.