Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
MCW Dysphagia Institute Focuses on Swallowing Disorders
Dysphagia, or difficulty in swallowing, affects approximately one out of every 17 people. There are many possible causes of dysphagia and therefore the symptoms may vary widely. One individual may have mild throat discomfort when swallowing, while another may be unable to eat any solid foods comfortably.
Dysphagia often signals a serious medical problem. If one has persistent difficulty in swallowing, it's very important that a diagnosis be made early. In cases where dysphagia is a warning sign of an illness, early diagnosis offers the best chance of successful treatment.
MCW Dysphagia Institute: A Leading Midwest Center
The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) Dysphagia Institute at Froedtert Hospital is a multi-disciplinary team committed to the diagnosis, research and treatment of patients with swallowing disorders. The Institute and its faculty have achieved international recognition for their basic and clinical research in swallowing disorders conducted over the last 20 years.
The Institute's comprehensive and sophisticated facilities are unique in the Midwest and are available to help patients with swallowing difficulties. Today, the Institute encompasses a clinical division for evaluating patients, and a research division, which has been continuously supported by grant funds from the National Institutes of Health and other federal funding agencies.
MCW Dysphagia Team Approach Enhances Diagnosis
Because a multitude of medical conditions can produce symptoms of dysphagia, patients with swallowing disorders are best served by a team of specialists. At Froedtert Hospital, this team of experts includes gastroenterologists, otolaryngologists, radiologists, neurologists, speech and language pathologists, and others. These specialists work together to develop an accurate diagnosis and therapy program. Patients benefit from having a single physician oversee and coordinate their care within the Dysphagia Clinic during work-up and treatment.
MCW Dysphagia Institute: Pioneer of Innovative Diagnostic Techniques
The MCW Dysphagia Team are leaders of innovative dysphagia diagnostic techniques. The Dysphagia Team will choose an "individualized" patient diagnostic evaluation tailored to your symptoms. The evaluation may include: three and four-site pH monitoring to rule out gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), concurrent videofluoroscopy and manometry that assesses motor function of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and ultra-thin endoscopy to evaluate the structure and lining of the throat, esophagus and stomach. Many of the instrumental techniques for evaluation of dysphagia were pioneered at the Dysphagia Institute during the past twenty years of basic and clinical research.
The SHAKER EXERCISE is a simple and cost effective exercise for rehabilitation of dysphagia caused by abnormal upper esophageal sphincter opening that results in aspiration occurring after the swallow. This Exercise was introduced and researched at the MCW Dysphagia Institute by Dr. Reza Shaker and his research team. The Shaker Exercise along with other techniques are used to rehabilitate oropharyngeal dysphagia under the direction of our Division's licensed speech language pathologist.
How to Make an Appointment: Your primary care physician can refer you to the MCW Dysphagia Institute at Froedtert. For an appointment, please call: 414-955-6633.