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Speaking of Apps

Dysphagia Education

Published March 18, 2013 3:32 PM by Megan Sutton

Northern Speech Services' Dysphagia is an essential app for every SLP working with adults with swallowing dysfunction. It provides images of the anatomy seen in a video fluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS or MBS), with videos of a normal swallow in two views and several types of impairments in an adult.

The images are the ones used in the MBSImPTM program for standardizing FVSS interpretation and reporting. Using a barium-white bolus, the app allows clinicians to show their patients what will happen in the VFSS and what aspiration and penetration look like. The animations can be slowed down, paused, and enlarged.



The normal swallow is shown in lateral and anterior-posterior (AP) views. Impairments shown in the lateral view include penetration with aspiration, impaired bolus transport, poor tongue base retraction, pharyngeal swallow initiation delay, decreased hyoid excursion, poor epiglottic inversion, and impaired PES opening. Impaired pharyngeal constriction is shown in the AP view to highlight unilateral weakness. While these impairments do not always occur in isolation, they are often best seen this way for patient education, student learning, or staff in-servicing.



This app is wonderful for providing patient education before going into the study, but it's even better for demonstrating the study results when the video is not available. The app's illustrations are in full color with translucent landmark anatomy, often easier for clients to understand than the black and white fluoroscopic images of the actual study. With added explanation, clinicians could also use the app to explain various dysphagia exercises.



The app is 10 animated swallows with speed control for playback. There is no explanation of what causes these impairments, no recommended exercises to remediate these impairments, nor even labels of anatomical structures. A knowledgeable clinician will have to add her own explanations and make recommendations based on the dysphagia literature; the app is simply a tool to assist in patient, student, or family education to better visualize various impairments.

Dysphagia is a universal app (iPad & iPhone) on iOS and Android for $9.99.  For iOS users, Northern Speech Services also sells an app called Normal Swallow for $3.99, containing only the two normal swallows that are part of the Dysphagia app. If you already own the Dysphagia app, the Normal Swallow app is redundant.


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davidhen davidhen, , Hello there davidhen July 15, 2019 7:26 PM
Kwekwe KS

Since last month when I reviewed the app Dysphagia , a new series of dysphagia education apps has been

April 15, 2013 9:08 AM

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About this Blog

    Speaking of Apps
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Rehabilitation
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