Samaritan offers new diagnostic tool for swallowing disorders

WATERTOWN, NY — Samaritan Health System is offering a new evaluation tool for our speech therapy staff to help patients and residents with swallowing disorders. The new FEES (Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing) tool allows therapists to capture and record live colored video to identify the cause of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). This procedure is not invasive and can be done in any medical setting.

Samaritan is the only local provider to offer the FEES evaluation service.
This evaluation tool helps the speech therapist see what happens in your mouth and throat when you swallow. The actual endoscopy lets the speech therapist see:

— if food goes into your airway instead of your stomach, called aspiration
— what parts of your mouth and throat may not work well
— what kinds of food and liquid consistencies are safest for you to swallow
— if certain positions or strategies help you swallow better

Improving swallow function reduces risks of choking and aspiration related illnesses.

The alternative to the FEES system is a Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS). The MBSS is an x-ray video of various consistencies of food/drink covered in barium being chewed and swallowed.

Each test offers the Speech Pathologist different kinds of objective information to formulate a plan of care. Both studies are offered at Samaritan Medical Center for inpatients and out patients.

The service will be used across the entire Samaritan system. If a community member is interested in being evaluated please contact: Samaritan Rehabilitation Department at (315) 785-4088.