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High-Tech Swallowing Therapy Program Restores the Joy of Eating

By |2024-05-10T08:13:13-04:00October 31st, 2023|Categories: Health A-Z, Physical Therapy|Tags: , |

Shuvro Ghose felt fine after a cardiac procedure at another hospital in November 2022 – until he tried to swallow medication and began choking. An MRI of his brain revealed he had several small strokes during the procedure.

Due to neurological damage from the strokes, Shuvro’s vocal cords wouldn’t move and his epiglottis – the flap of cartilage at the base of the tongue that covers the windpipe during swallowing – wasn’t functioning properly. When he tried to eat, food became stuck in his windpipe instead of going down his esophagus to his stomach.

He spent several weeks in the hospital and was fed through a tube to ensure he received the proper nutrients. Still, he lost weight and dreamed about eating food again.

“It was during Thanksgiving, and every show on TV was about food,” Shuvro, 62, remembers. “I was miserable. For 17 days, I didn’t taste a single piece of food. I couldn’t even suck on an ice cube to satisfy my thirst.”

Out of desperation, the Manalapan resident scoured the Internet to learn more about his condition and how to treat it. He found a few exercises and relearned how to swallow some liquid, but his progress leveled off. He continued researching his options and learned about a state-of-the-art swallowing therapy program at CentraState’s Speech-Language Therapy Department.

Better Results Through Technology

During therapy with Synchrony, Bluetooth enabled electrodes are placed under the patient’s chin and above the throat. Then, patients complete interactive swallowing exercises. Information is displayed on a screen, enabling them to see their muscle activity.

Under the direction of speech language pathologists Lara Brody, MA, CCC-SLP, and Danielle DaCunha, MS, CCC-SLP, Shuvro performed vigorous swallowing exercises twice a week to improve his muscle strength. The technology allowed him to see how effectively he performed the exercises and how to adjust his technique.

“Traditionally, patients perform swallowing exercises in front of a mirror,” Brody explains. “Synchrony is more helpful because it provides instant, objective feedback and tracks progress from session to session.”

Three months after starting therapy at CentraState, Shuvro passed a swallowing test and was thrilled that he could eat the foods he had been craving.

“Shuvro came to us eating nothing by mouth and only receiving nutrition through a tube,” Brody says. “With this tool, we improved his function and quality of life.”

“I was losing hope, and now it’s remarkable to see the progress I’ve made,” says Shuvro. “I’m so grateful to everyone, especially Lara and Danielle for their encouragement to keep me motivated to reach my goal.”

Speech-Language Therapy Services at CentraState

For more information on Speech-Language Therapy services at CentraState, visit our webpage or call 732-294-2700 to schedule an appointment.

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