New Deglutition Polyclinic

Diario EL PAÍS

A few days ago the British Hospital put into operation a specialized service for the diagnosis, the therapeutic indication and the evolutive follow-up of patients with swallowing disorders, both children and adults.

 The new Deglutition Polyclinic is part of the British Hospital Otorhinolaryngology Department and is headed by Dr. Inés Doassans.

 The specialist has a Postgraduate Degree in Deglutition Alterations by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, certified by the European Society of Swallowing Disorders, and integrates the Department's staff as an otolaryngologist.

 Swallowing disorder is understood as "the alteration of the swallowing function," Doassans said, and she also explained that it is a broad spectrum, since it may be an "alteration of the passage of food from the mouth to the esophagus".

 Swallowing disorders are frequent, both in adults and in children, often they are not diagnosed, and in some cases can lead to complications. They have a high prevalence at the beginning and in the end of life and in patients with neurological diseases or the ones who suffered a cerebrovascular accident.

 Symptoms varied, such as the presence of difficulties in swallowing some type of food, cough or what is commonly known as choking at the time of swallowing. For instance, in the case of children they may present difficulties in breastfeeding.

 "Swallowing is a very complex mechanism in which more than 55 muscles act. An person performs more than 1.800 swallows per day, each day of life, so when the same is altered it can affect the quality of life of the person, "summarized the specialist.

 “We constantly swallow spit and swallow the food to nourish ourselves and the liquids to hydrate us. When this function is altered it can become a respiratory infection, malnutrition, dehydration, among other complications, "she warned.

 The new Deglutition Polyclinic provides assistance to patients with swallowing disorders and covers the diagnosis, therapeutic recommendation and the evolution follow-up.

 The Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing is also performed, a study that allows the evaluation of effectiveness and safety of swallowing, and then proposing a treatment recommendation in conjunction with the medical team that treats the patient.

 "The importance lies in the approach which is shared with many specialties, the patient requires that we are focused on their problems from all the specialties involved to all aspects," said Doassans.

 Thus the polyclinic of swallowing is incorporated into the work of the Unit of Eating Disorders for the approach of children and also works with psychologists, phonoaudiologists, pediatricians, geriatricians, otolaryngologists, nutritionists, radiologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and dentists, among other professionals, according to the characteristics of each case.

 The discussion and the interdisciplinary work of the cases, is a new way of doing medicine, driven by the British Hospital management for the benefit of the members, aimed to provide the highest standards of quality assistance.

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