Concepts in Ventilator Weaning: Challenges for the Patient With Dysphagia The care of the mechanically ventilated patient has evolved over the past several decades. Individuals who have had tracheostomies and are dependent on ventilators often experience a devastating loss of communication and swallowing function. More and more frequently, speech-language pathologists are called upon to assist in the care of these ... Article
Article  |   December 2008
Concepts in Ventilator Weaning: Challenges for the Patient With Dysphagia
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Karen Dikeman
    Department of Rehabilitation Services, The Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation; New York Hospital Queens, Center for Digestive Diseases and Swallowing Disorders, Queens, NY
  • Marta Kazandjian
    Department of Rehabilitation Services, The Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation; New York Hospital Queens, Center for Digestive Diseases and Swallowing Disorders, Queens, NY
  • Helene Lerner
    Dining Services, Morrison Senior Dining, The Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, Queens, NY
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   December 2008
Concepts in Ventilator Weaning: Challenges for the Patient With Dysphagia
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), December 2008, Vol. 17, 135-142. doi:10.1044/sasd17.4.135
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), December 2008, Vol. 17, 135-142. doi:10.1044/sasd17.4.135
Abstract

The care of the mechanically ventilated patient has evolved over the past several decades. Individuals who have had tracheostomies and are dependent on ventilators often experience a devastating loss of communication and swallowing function. More and more frequently, speech-language pathologists are called upon to assist in the care of these patients with medically complex conditions as part of a comprehensive interdisciplinary team. When working with patients who are being weaned from a ventilator, speech-language pathologists must appreciate the interaction between respiration and swallowing. Impairment in these systems is closely linked, due to the potential influences of upper airway flow and pressure on normal swallowing physiology. In conjunction with other co-morbidities of chronic illness, such as recurrent infections and decreased nutrition, the loss of consistent upper airway flow affects the ventilator weaning process. As a team member, the speech-language pathologist supports the communication and swallowing needs of patients, facilitating these processes throughout recovery and during movement toward liberation from mechanical ventilation.

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