How is dysphagia assessed and treated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

Updated: Jan 02, 2020
  • Author: Divakara Kedlaya, MBBS; Chief Editor: Ryan O Stephenson, DO  more...
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Answer

Answer

In patients with bulbar involvement, the speech therapist can perform an oropharyngeal assessment to evaluate for clinical signs of dysphagia. In many cases, a videofluoroscopic swallowing evaluation is necessary to identify specific problems during the various phases of swallowing. Speech therapists can provide interventions, such as alterations in the consistency, taste, or temperatures of foods, to improve oral intake and prevent aspiration. Straws may be used to encourage the recommended chin-tuck position for swallowing thin liquids. Enforce upright positioning at all meals, and, in patients with neck extensor weakness, recommend a soft cervical collar to improve positioning during meals.


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