Difficulty awallowing (dysphagia) is a frequent complaint, leading to coughing during meals or choking. When choking occurs, food or liquid enters the trachea (windpipe), and this may cause pneumonia.
An Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist can, together with the speech and swallowing therapist, investigate swallowing problems, and can give advice on treatment options.
The following investigations can be performed:
•FEES (Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing): the ENT specialist examines the throat region with a thin flexible scope, entering through the nose. The investigation is not painful. During the examination, the patient is required to eat, and the doctor checks how the food travels in the throat region.
•Videofluoroscopy (swallowing video): this study is an X-ray that looks at the way your swallowing works. You are requensted to swallow a small amount of liquid or food with contrast liquid. This examination is not painful.
•Eating observation (by speech and swallowing therapist): the therapist observes during eating and drinking. You may bring your own food that is known to cause problems during swallowing, such as dry biscuits or bread. Based on this observation, the swallowing therapist may you give advice and specific tips.
If you encounter swallowing difficulties, please report this to your treating physician.