Food for Thought: Do We Treat “The Swallow” or Swallowing Disorders? When we evaluate a patient with oropharyngeal dysphagia, our goal is generally to define the specific abnormalities in the anatomy and/or physiology of the patient’s swallow on the assumption that we will treat those abnormalities. However, in recent years, several management strategies have been introduced which appear to offer treatment ... Viewpoint
Viewpoint  |   October 2007
Food for Thought: Do We Treat “The Swallow” or Swallowing Disorders?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jeri A. Logemann
    Northwestern University, Evanston and Chicago, Ill
  • She may be contacted at j-logemann@northwestern.edu.
  • Jeri Logemann is Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University and Professor of Oto-laryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery and Neurology at Northwestern University Medical School. She has published and lectured widely both nationally and internationally on evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders.
    Jeri Logemann is Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University and Professor of Oto-laryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery and Neurology at Northwestern University Medical School. She has published and lectured widely both nationally and internationally on evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders.×
  • Copyright © 2007 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Food for Thought
Viewpoint   |   October 2007
Food for Thought: Do We Treat “The Swallow” or Swallowing Disorders?
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2007, Vol. 16, 18-19. doi:10.1044/sasd16.3.18
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2007, Vol. 16, 18-19. doi:10.1044/sasd16.3.18
When we evaluate a patient with oropharyngeal dysphagia, our goal is generally to define the specific abnormalities in the anatomy and/or physiology of the patient’s swallow on the assumption that we will treat those abnormalities. However, in recent years, several management strategies have been introduced which appear to offer treatment for “swallowing” with no specific physiologic goal. In addition, there are times when a patient with dysphagia exhibits a weakness in all aspects of the pharyngeal stage of swallow, including laryngeal elevation, hyoid upward and forward motion, airway entrance closure, pharyngeal wall contraction, and cricopharyngeal opening. As clinicians, we often see this generalized weakness in patients who have been intubated for a week or more and in many elderly individuals who have been weakened by their illness. Should we treat individual disorders in these patients or should we treat “the swallow”?
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