Welcome Letter from the Program Director
Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Staten Island University Hospital

Swallowing Therapy

What could happen if you have difficulties swallowing?

  • Aspiration pneumonia develops when food/liquid enters the lungs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Malnutrition happens when the body doesn't get enough nutrients
  • Dehydration happens when the body doesn't have enough water

Who might have a swallowing problem?

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Brain injury (TBI)
  • Dementia
  • Head/neck cancer
  • Head/neck trauma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Stroke
  • Vocal cord pathology

What are the symptoms of a swallowing problem?

  • Unable to hold food/liquids in your mouth
  • Trouble chewing
  • Trouble moving food/liquids from the front to the back of your mouth
  • Difficulty starting a swallow
  • Sensation of food stuck in the throat while eating
  • Coughing/choking while eating/drinking
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Wet voice after swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing while eating
  • Recurrent aspiration pneumonia

How do you find treatment?

  • Get a referral from your physician
  • You will then be evaluated by a physiatrist (a medical doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation) and a speech-language pathologist
  • A detailed medical and swallowing history will be taken
  • You will be observed eating/drinking different foods and liquids
  • If needed, a Modified Barium Swallow Study aka Video Evaluation of the Swallow may be recommended
  • This is a relatively short exam, where an x-ray machine (operated by a radiologist) takes images of the mouth and throat while the patient is swallowing different consistencies of foods/liquids coated in barium

Swallowing Therapy may be recommended if a swallowing problem is identified. Our highly skilled speech-language pathologists are trained to develop an individualized plan to effectively treat your swallowing issues.

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