Choking While Eating or Drinking

If you experience frequent choking when eating or drinking, you may require an evaluation for a swallowing problem.

Evaluation for Swallowing Problem

To further evaluate your swallowing, our speech therapists will perform one or more diagnostic tests, including:

Clinical Swallow Evaluation
Performed in the clinic setting (or at the “bedside”) and determines how effectively you can swallow different foods and liquids.
Fiber-optic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)
Uses a flexible endoscope to evaluate the movements of the inside of the throat during swallowing. This is also performed in the clinic setting.
Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Evaluation
Analyzes your response to various textures and consistencies of food to swallow; each swallow is analyzed; also known as a modified barium swallow study (MBS). This study is performed with both a speech therapist and a radiologist in a radiology suite.

If the speech therapist finds problems during the MBS or FEES evaluation, therapeutic maneuvers can be implemented and the effects evaluated in real time. 

Treatments for Swallowing Problems

Once the evaluation is complete, our speech therapists will present you with an individualized treatment plan that may include:

  • Modifications to eating or swallowing behaviors
  • Changes in diet to decrease the risk of aspiration pneumonia
  • Therapeutic exercises
  • VitalStim therapy, a non-invasive, painless treatment using electrical stimulation to strengthen the muscles used in swallowing
  • Recommendations for office-based procedures, including in-office vocal cord injections, which are performed by our laryngologists
  • In severe cases, recommendations for alternate means of nutrition through a feeding tube

Request an Appointment

If you experience difficulty swallowing, we can help. To schedule an appointment with one of our laryngologists, or for more information about our services, call 214-645-8300.