Friday, April 12, 2013

Modified Barium Swallow Study

This past Monday, Wendy had her second swallow study. The first was done at Vanderbilt when she was around 5 months old and could not be completed because she did not take enough liquids. Wendy had the study done because she has dysphagia, difficult with swallowing. The two main things noted in her study were pharyngeal residue after swallowing and laryngeal penetration of thin liquids.

Pharyngeal residue means that when she swallows, she doesn’t swallow all of the food and there is residue left in the back of her throat. Because of this, we have to feed Wendy small bites, very slowly. We also have to make sure her mouth is empty before feeding her another bite. Sometimes we will have to give her an empty spoon to make her think she’s getting another bite of food so she will swallow again and clear the back of her throat.

The other thing mentioned, laryngeal penetration, was described to us as the liquids playing peekaboo with her windpipe. When Wendy swallows liquids, more than 50% of the time, a little liquid would go into her trachea and come back out. She is not aspirating, but laryngeal penetration can be a predictor for aspiration and puts her at higher risk, so it’s just something we have to be careful of. Again, we have to give small, slow sips.

All in all, Wendy passed her study and these big words make it sound much worse than it is. Wendy has been cleared for feeding therapy and her rehab potential is “good with continued intervention”, so eventually (hopefully) she will not be feeding tube dependent. This is a very big and exciting step for Wendy and our family. We are hoping for continued good news and success!

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