A swallow study procedure identifies at what point during the swallowing process a problem exists so actions can be taken to either rectify the issue or make eating and drinking easier. There are four different phases analyzed during a swallow study procedure:
- Oral preparation—At this point during the swallowing process, the food is chewed and moistened with saliva in the mouth.
- Oral stage—This stage is voluntary since people have control over when, how, and if to swallow. At this point, food and liquids are pushed backward by the throat.
- Pharyngeal stage—At the start of this part of the swallowing process, food enters the throat. Then, the epiglottis closes off the passage of the windpipe so food does not get into the lungs. After the epiglottis closes, the muscles in the throat relax and liquids and food travel down from the throat into the esophagus. Then, the epiglottis opens up again so breathing can continue.
- Esophageal stage—Once the swallowing process reaches this stage, gravity pushes liquids from the esophagus down into the stomach. Wave-like movements, known as peristalsis, push foods into the stomach, and a muscular band, the lower esophageal sphincter, relaxes in response to the swallowing process. This final stage allows liquids and food to make their way into the stomach.
If you want to know more about the swallowing process and how a swallow study procedure identifies issues with eating and drinking, reach out to us at TwinCity Medical Mobile. We are always more than happy to answer your questions!