Dysphagia is a medical term for difficulty in swallowing. It is commonly experienced as a result of stroke, radiation for head and neck cancers, neurological illnesses, aging, and injuries to the brain, head or neck. Untreated, dysphagia can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which is inflammation of the lungs and airways to the lungs from breathing in foreign material such as food.
Services provided for patients dealing with swallowing difficulties include swallowing studies and therapy.
UM Shore Regional Health offers a digital swallowing station which streamlines care for patients who can receive their swallowing study and therapy in the same location.
A multidisciplinary team including speech-language pathologist and radiologists perform swallowing studies. The study takes real-time moving images of the internal structures of the body. Those images are then read by the therapist and radiologist, who together to determine next steps for therapy and treatment of dysphasia. Patients can also view the digital images of their studies to see their swallowing function and the progress they are making as they participate in therapy. Images are digitized and can be sent to a medical specialist off site, preventing the need for additional travel or multiple appointments for follow-up of the study results.
After their swallowing study is complete and a plan of therapy is in place, trained speech-language pathologists work with patients to help them regain the muscle strength needed to resume everyday activities such as eating, drinking and speaking.
For more information, contact:
UM Shore Regional Health Diagnostic and Imaging Center
10B Martin Court
Easton, MD 21601.
TEL: 410-822-1000, ext. 2525 or 410-822-3080.