Anatomy, Ear / Nose / Throat, Head and neck, Fluoroscopy, Dynamic swallowing studies, Swallowing disorders
C. Newman, F. Newman, C. Thompson; Melbourne, VIC/AU
Swallowing is a complex, continuous multiphase process that spans the oral cavity to the stomach. Associations between oropharyngeal and oesophageal abnormalities are poorly understood but well documented[1-3]. Despite the close association, assessment of swallowing has been dichotomised into separate oropharyngeal and oesophageal evaluation by way of VFSS or oesophageal barium swallows in fluoroscopy with the speech pathologist performing the former and the radiologist performing the latter.
Speech pathologists have expertise in diagnosing physiological abnormalities, however not infrequently they will either suspect anatomical pathology that may be causing or contributing to oropharyngeal dysphagia or uncover an incidental abnormality. From a medico-legal viewpoint, the speech pathologist cannot ‘diagnose’ and report these pathologies without radiologist input. Therefore, a basic understanding of the VFSS and some common pathology is necessary for the radiologist regarding these studies.