To See or Not to See: A Question of Clinical Importance Dysphagia may be considered an abnormality of bolus flow. Specifically, bolus flow may be inhibited, as in the case of oral or pharyngeal residue, or bolus flow may be misdirected, as in the case of laryngeal penetra-tion/aspiration (McCullough, Rosen-bek, Robbins, Coyle, & Wood, 1998). Bolus flow is altered due ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2004
To See or Not to See: A Question of Clinical Importance
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Gary H. McCullough
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center, Little Rock, AR
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   December 01, 2004
To See or Not to See: A Question of Clinical Importance
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), December 2004, Vol. 13, 5-9. doi:10.1044/sasd13.4.5
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), December 2004, Vol. 13, 5-9. doi:10.1044/sasd13.4.5
Dysphagia may be considered an abnormality of bolus flow. Specifically, bolus flow may be inhibited, as in the case of oral or pharyngeal residue, or bolus flow may be misdirected, as in the case of laryngeal penetra-tion/aspiration (McCullough, Rosen-bek, Robbins, Coyle, & Wood, 1998). Bolus flow is altered due to biomechanical changes in swallow function resulting from neurological changes, structural changes, or other medical/physical impairment, which can occur at any age. Dysphagia is a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and costly disabilities. Aspiration of food, liquid, or secretions can lead to respiratory complications, aspiration pneumonia, and even death (Bartlett, Gorbach, & Finegold, 1974; Langmore et al., 1998; Martin et al., 1994). In addition to respiratory complications associated with aspiration, biomechanical inhibitions to bolus flow through the oral and pharyngeal cavities can cause problems such as dehydration and malnutrition (Siebens et al., 1986). Malnutrition occurs in as many as 85% of nursing home patients and creates problems with the immune system, increasing length of hospitalizations (Mion, McDowell, & Heaney, 1994). And then, of course, there are the quality of life issues, which are important to the lives of the patients we serve, even if they are not important to third-party reimbursement agencies.
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