April 17, 2018 – Hope for Swallowing


Anchor lead: Difficulty swallowing after being on a breathing machine can most often be improved, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Many people have difficulty swallowing after being on a breathing machine, but Martin Brodsky, a swallowing expert at Johns Hopkins, says therapy can help the majority recover some function, even after prolonged periods, according to his recent study.

Brodsky: It’s exercise regimens, it’s drills, it’s very similar to what you would imagine to what you would imagine for physical therapy to be for limbs and trunk strength, and function, though this happens in a very small space of the head and the neck. The vast majority, well beyond 80-90% will recover swallowing to a function where they’re able to take at least something in orally and be able to maintain some level of quality of life.  :27

Brodsky says testing is important to pinpoint the nature of the swallowing problem, so that specific interventions can be applied. He says his study shows that even after five years, improvement in swallowing is still possible. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.