Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Swallowing Difficulty Evaluation

Evaluation of difficulty swallowing starts with a medical history and physical examination.

Physical findings in someone with difficulty swallowing due to stroke may include:

In most cases, testing is necessary to evaluate difficulty swallowing.

Tests that may be used to evaluate difficulty swallowing include:

Because strokes and TIAs can cause difficulty swallowing, tests may be required to evaluate stroke as a cause of difficulty swallowing.

Tests that may be used to evaluate stroke or TIA include:

A stroke or TIA may be caused by narrowing of the blood vessels in the neck, called the carotid arteries.

Tests that may be used to evaluate the carotid arteries include:
  • Carotid angiogram:
    • A special x-ray procedure that can detect blood vessel narrowing in the carotid arteries, which often cause strokes.
  • Carotid duplex ultrasound:
    • Can detect narrowing and reduced blood flow in the carotid arteries that supply the brain

Tests that may be used to screen for conditions that increase the risk of a stroke include:

Continue to Swallowing Difficulty Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Swallowing Difficulty References
  1. Achem SR, Devault KR. Dysphagia in aging. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 May-Jun;39(5):357-71. [15815202]
  2. Cook IJ, Kahrilas PJ. AGA technical review on management of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Gastroenterology. 1999 Feb;116(2):455-78. [9922328]
  3. Leslie P, Drinnan MJ, Ford GA, Wilson JA. Swallow respiratory patterns and aging: presbyphagia or dysphagia? J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2005 Mar;60(3):391-5. [15860480]
  4. Rubenstein JH, Inadomi JM. Dysphagia drives doctors to diagnose a disease: pitfalls in interpreting observational studies. Gastrointest Endosc. 2005 Jun;61(7):809-11. [15933680]
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