Offering diagnosis and treatment of communication, hearing, and swallowing disorders
Published: Mar. 17, 2010
Updated: Nov. 3, 2011
Adam’s apple: A protrusion in the front of the neck caused by the angle of the thyroid cartilage
Aspiration: When foreign matter, such as food, liquid, or secretions pass through the level of the true vocal cords
Aspiration pneumonia: A lung infection that results from the entry of foreign matter, such as food or liquid, into the trachea and lungs
Barium: Metallic compound that shows up on x-ray so it can be seen during a videofluoroscopic swallow examination (VFSE)
Bolus: A soft mass of chewed food
Cleft lip and palate: A birth defect that may affect the upper lip or the palate (roof of the mouth). A cleft lip may range from a notch to a split up into the nose. A cleft palate may occur on either or both sides and may extend up to the full length of the palate.
Clinical swallow evaluation: An assessment performed by a speech-language pathologist which uses a combination of asking questions, watching you move your face, mouth, and throat, and observing and listening to you eat and drink to learn more about your swallowing problem. This test may result in a diagnosis, initiation of therapy, or further testing.
Dysphagia/swallowing disorder: Any difficulty swallowing caused by problems in nerve or muscle control
Endoscope: A small camera with a light at the end
Esophagus: The extension of the pharynx that connects to the stomach. It acts to transport a bolus from the mouth and pharynx to the stomach.
Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES): A test used to evaluate your swallowing function. A speech-language pathologist passes a flexible endoscope (a small camera with a light) through your nose to look at your throat while you eat and drink. The food and liquid is dyed a bright color before it is eaten so it can be visualized easily as it is swallowed. This allows the speech-language pathologist to see how and where the food travels through your throat.
Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing (FEESST): A test in which an endoscope is used for fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing that can provide information on how well the throat is detecting sensations (or feeling things) when a foreign body enters. Many times this evaluation is performed at the same time as a fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing because the information gained during both tests are closely related and usually needed to get a complete picture of your swallowing abilities.
Laryngospasm: Involuntary muscular contraction of the vocal folds that causes partial blocking of breathing in which may occur when a foreign matter or secretion enters the larynx
Larynx: The “voice box,” located between the pharynx and the trachea and contains the vocal folds
Oral: Referring to the mouth, including the lips, tongue, teeth, and cheeks
Penetration: When foreign matter, such as food, liquid, or secretions enter into the laryngeal vestibule but does not pass through the level of the true vocal cords
Pharyngeal manometry: Used to measure strength of the pharynx
Pharynx: The part of the throat located between the nasal passages and the esophagus. It can be divided into three parts from top to bottom: nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx
Supraglottic: Refers to the area in the larynx above the true vocal folds
Swallow: To take through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach
Trachea: The airway that extends from the pharynx at the level of the vocal folds and connects to the lungs
True vocal folds: Two muscles located in the larynx that vibrate open and closed to produce a voice. When open, they form the glottis, which is the opening into the trachea.
Videofluoroscopic swallow evaluation (VFSE): A radiographic evaluation of swallowing function. A speech-language pathologist performs the study jointly with a radiologist. Moving x-ray images of the mouth, throat, and esophagus are taken while food and liquid of different textures and consistencies, mixed with barium, are swallowed.