Voice and Swallowing Disorders

Name:

Voice and Swallowing Disorders

Other common names:

Hoarseness, cough, dysphagia, heartburn, globus pharyngeus regurgitation

Who does it affect?:

Any age and either sex can be affected either due to a disorder of the voice box or gullet itself or as part of a more generalised disease of which this may be the first sign.

Why does it occur?:

The throat produces voice, protects the lungs from food stuffs going down the wrong way and safely transmits food to the stomach for digestion. Voice box movement can be affected due to lesions such as cysts, nodules or polyps of the cords themselves, muscle weakness or impaired nerve supply. Gullet opening can be affected by narrowing or blockage, changes in shape of the wall, external pressure such as an enlarged thyroid and escape of gastric acid upwards into the throat.

Symptoms:

A variety of symptoms can occur:- hoarseness, inability to clear the throat, chronic cough, poor swallowing of foods or liquids (dysphagia), feeling of a lump in throat (globus pharyngeus), regurgitation of food and heartburn.

Clinical Examination:

A full history of the condition and related medical complaints is taken. Mr Murty has pioneered award winning techniques for visualising and assessing throat function to enable accurate assessment of the anatomical site and extent of the problem. Minimally invasive endoscopy including the new technique of transnasal oesophagoscopy (TNE). Tussometry, video stroboscopy and video radiological assessment are all available to diagnose the problem.

Non-operative Treatment:

Certain conditions may be responsive to focused therapy from Mr Murty's speech pathology team requiring 2-6 sessions. Medication may be successful in altering throat secretions, muscle tone and stomach acid reflux. Botox injection to individual muscles can also provide relief.

Operative Treatment:

Mr Murty's surgical team has developed a general anaesthetic technique specifically designed to preserve laryngeal function during surgery proving particularly effective in professional singers. Microsurgery and laser therapy can correct laryngeal disorders often as day cases. The technique of fat glottoplasty can improve voice strength and is particularly effective in the older voice.

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