Dysphagia Guidelines

Updated: Jan 31, 2022
  • Author: Nam-Jong Paik, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Elizabeth A Moberg-Wolff, MD  more...
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Guidelines Summary

Best practice recommendations

Best practice recommendations for oropharyngeal dysphagia management in patients who have suffered acute cervical spinal cord injury (cSCI) were developed by “a 27-member panel of expert professionals in cervical spinal cord injury and complex dysphagia.” Recommendations pertained to swallowing, respiratory function, communication, nutrition, and oral care. For example, those aimed at the management of swallowing in patients after acute cSCI included the following [69] :

  • A team should conduct early screening to evaluate risk factors for and symptoms of dysphagia
  • Speech and language therapists should assess patients with risks for or symptoms of dysphagia, particularly those who require tracheostomy and ventilation
  • To aid in the evaluation of pharyngeal and laryngeal functions, access should be available to instrumental assessments such as fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES)
  • The routine use of thickened fluids and blue dye should be avoided if not yet assessed by a speech and language therapist
  • Position or ventilation status by itself should not be the basis for oral intake restriction