Swallowing problems after stroke are common affecting up to 65% of people. In a small proportion of people will have persistent problem. Previously it has only been possible to compensate for these swallowing problems by modifying the swallow or altering the diet. There are now increasing numbers of therapies that show promise in enabling the swallow to be rehabilitated much in the same was as stoke as a whole. Being able to swallow safely will result in the ability to enjoy food such that it is not a chore to keep body and soul together but also a convivial social past time. This joy may be removed following brain injury, in the case of this paper, following stroke. It is accepted that for meaningful recovery of limb function and speech a period of rehabilitation should be undertaken. Swallowing has often been neglected, with an air of nihilism that used to pervade stroke as a whole. This paper is a brief review of accepted and emerging interventions that assist in the rehabilitation of swallowing and the return to oral feeding. The process of swallowing has been described as the most complex of âall or non- reflexâ, however, although the pharyngeal swallow is a reflex it can be modified by the cortex depending on feedback regarding bolus size and viscosity emanating from afferents in the mouth and pharynx. Because individual swallows can be influenced by bolus characteristics, a normal is swallow is difficult to define, but essentially it is a series of sequential coordinated events that ensures a safe passage of food or liquid from the mouth to the stomach.
Swallowing Rehabilitation after Stroke: David G Smithard
Last date updated on June, 2014