As typically defined, dysphagia is a condition in which disruption of the swallowing process interferes with a patient’s ability to eat. It can result in aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition, dehydration, weight loss, and airway obstruction. Chest radiography is a simple assessment for pneumonia. The image below shows aspiration of liquid barium into the distal bronchus.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms associated with dysphagia may include having pain while swallowing (odynophagia), being unable to swallow, having the sensation of food getting stuck in your throat or chest or behind your breastbone (sternum), drooling, being hoarse etc.
Aspiration is a term referring to the passive entry of any food item into the trachea (eg, during inhalation), although the word often is used to denote any entry of a bolus into the trachea in any manner. Penetration refers to the active entry of any food item into the trachea (eg, during swallowing), although the term often is used to denote the entry of any bolus into the laryngeal vestibule.