What are some initial preventative measures to reduce aspiration in patients with swallowing dysfunction?

Updated: Aug 15, 2018
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Answer

For patients with known swallowing dysfunction (eg, dysphagia and/or a poor gag reflex), helpful compensatory techniques to reduce aspiration include a soft diet reducing the bite size, nectar-thick or honey-thickened liquids, keeping the chin tucked and the head turned, and repeated swallowing. Although body positioning and changing the consistency of food/liquids are reasonable steps, their efficacy has not been proven in controlled trials. [28, 29] Feeding through a nasogastric or gastric tube may be required for patients with severe dysphagia.


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