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Airway Protection Program: Expiratory Muscle Strength Training for Dysphagia Treatment

Let’s talk aspiration. I hate to even bring it up. It is a word that makes physicians, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), and many people living with swallowing disorders cringe.  Why? If you have lived with dysphagia or cared for someone who has, you know that dysphagia and aspiration can be linked to potentially life-threatening complications, like aspiration pneumonia. So, when we talk about aspiration, we want to talk about reducing it. There are several causes of aspiration and a dysphagia treatment program needs to target those issues specifically to be effective. One reason food and/or liquid can enter the lungs is due to poor airway protection. This article reviews the emerging evidence that expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) is one treatment that can improve airway protection.

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Feeding the Medically Fragile Infant

Written by Rebecca Brown, M.S., CCC-SLP, CNT 

Amy’s Story

Amy was born at 24 weeks gestational age, 16 weeks before her due date. Amy was born with her twin, but her sister did not live more than twenty-four hours after delivery. Since delivery, Amy has undergone multiple procedures, including x-rays, eye exams, head ultrasounds, and phototherapy. She was on mechanical ventilation because of her immature lungs for more than a month before being able to breathe without the assistance of the ventilator.  Amy still required supplemental oxygen through a nasal cannula in order to support her breathing. At 32 weeks, Amy began demonstrating signs of hunger, including bringing hands to mouth, opening her mouth wide, and moving her head around to search for a breast or bottle. How should the medical team approach feeding this medically fragile infant?

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Swallowing Exercise with Biofeedback

You may have heard the term biofeedback mentioned to you by your clinician or you may have come across it on this very site. Some of you may have even received swallowing therapy with the help of biofeedback. But what is it actually and why do speech-language pathologists use it?

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Cost of Oropharyngeal Dysphagia

Dysphagia in the Research: By performing a systematic review of the literature and meta-analyses, researchers Attrill et al. investigated the impact of oropharyngeal dysphagia on the healthcare system in regards to length of stay and cost, which was published in August 2018. They systematically searched 8 databases using a standardized approach for relevant articles reporting on oropharyngeal dysphagia attributable to inpatient length of stay and healthcare costs through June 2016. continue reading →