WASHINGTON, DC-Dysphagia is the dominant cause of morbidity and mortality in patients treated by otolaryngologists, and in fact, more people die from aspiration pneumonia following stroke than from all head and neck cancers combined.
Explore this issue:November 2007
Dysphagia is challenging and frustrating to treat, and there is no good evidence for many of the modalities we use to treat it, stated Albert L. Merati, MD, Director of the Laryngology Service in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Dr. Merati moderated a session on current nonsurgical and surgical options for the management of dysphagia and aspiration, during which he noted that nearly all surgical interventions are directed at restoring glottic competence or improving outflow from the pharynx to the esophagus.
Dysphagia should be managed by a multidisciplinary team, said the next speaker, Donna S. Lundy, PhD, Director of the Vocal Disorders Laboratory at the University of Miami in Miami, FL.