June 20, 1986

Dysphagia management means diagnosis, exercise, reeducation

JAMA. 1986;255(23):3209-3210. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370230015002

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Most persons swallow 600 or more times a day without conscious effort. However, for an estimated 6 million to 10 million Americans, swallowing is a much more difficult, sometimes even impossible, task.

An increasing amount of medical attention is being given to the problem. At a recent symposium on swallowing disorders, for example, specialists from a variety of fields discussed diagnosis and rehabilitation of persons with impaired swallowing ability.

The symposium was held at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, the site of a multidisciplinary swallowing center. (Please see accompanying article.)

The director of that center, Martin W. Donner, MD, chair of the Department of Radiology, says that dysphagia is not a disease in itself. Rather, he says, it is a symptom of a disease that may be affecting any part of the swallowing tract.

And such a disease can have sometimes devastating consequences, from depriving a person of the