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Swallowing (Dysphagia) Program

The Swallowing (Dysphagia) Program at Miami Valley Hospital’s Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio provides comprehensive evaluation and therapy services to treat individuals who are experiencing difficulty swallowing.

Evaluation and Treatment Plan

Swallowing disorders can sometimes occur as a result of brain injury, stroke, head and neck cancer, degenerative disease, and neurological disorders. Our professional staff has accumulated hundreds of hours of experience treating complex dysphagia cases. Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio speech pathologists deliver a diagnosis and treatment plan based upon professional perspectives.  

Clinical Swallowing/Oral Motor Evaluation

This is the first step to diagnosing dysphagia. During this evaluation, our speech pathologist views how the muscles of the face and throat work together to enable swallowing. The patient’s ability to swallow different types of food and drink are also evaluated.

Instrumental Swallowing Evaluation

After a clinical swallowing/oral motor evaluation is completed, the speech pathologist may recommend further evaluation using one of the techniques below:

  • Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing – This procedure is performed by a speech pathologist. A small tube (scope) is inserted through the nose to observe the muscles in the throat that control the ability to protect the airway while swallowing. The speech pathologist evaluates the safety and efficiency of swallowing. During this examination, the patient may be instructed to try different swallowing techniques to see if the swallowing function improves.
  • Videofluoroscopy - The patient swallows food and liquid that also contains barium (a substance that can be seen with an X-ray). An X-ray video is taken of the mouth and throat while the patient swallows. The speech pathologist evaluates the safety and efficiency of swallowing. During this examination, the patient may be instructed to try different swallowing techniques to see if the swallowing function improves.

Swallowing Therapy

Swallowing therapy is based on individual needs and may include:

  • Diet modification training
  • Strategies and techniques to help patients swallow more effectively
  • Exercises to strengthen muscles used for swallowing

Conditions Treated

The Swallowing Program at Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio treats oropharyngeal dysphagia (difficulty passing food, drink or saliva from the mouth to the esophagus). Impairment can occur during different stages of the swallowing process:

  • Oral dysphagia – Impaired sucking, chewing, and moving food or liquid through the mouth into the throat
  • Pharyngeal dysphagia – Impaired movement of food or liquid through the throat. During this part of the swallow, the throat closes off the airway to prevent choking or aspiration (food or liquid entering the airway)

Preparing for Dysphagia Treatments

Premier Health Library

The Premier Health Library offers a wealth of information about dysphagia treatments. Learn about conditions, treatments, how to prepare for surgery, and much more.



Content Updated: November 26, 2014

These Miami Valley Hospital locations offer Rehabilitation Services.
Outpatient Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine at Coffman Family YMCA
90 Remick Blvd. Springboro, OH  45066
Rehabilitation at Claybourne Medical Center
1525 E. Stroop Rd. Kettering, OH  45429
Rehabilitation at Miami Valley Health Center Huber Heights
6251 Miami Valley Way Huber Heights, OH  45424
Rehabilitation at Miami Valley Hospital
One Wyoming St. Dayton, OH  45409
Rehabilitation at Miami Valley Hospital North
9000 N. Main St. Englewood, OH  45415
Rehabilitation at Miami Valley Hospital South
2400 Miami Valley Dr. Centerville, OH  45459
Rehabilitation at SureCare Medical Center
360 W. Central Ave. Springboro, OH  45066
Rehabilitation at the Wright Health Building
1222 S. Patterson Blvd. Dayton, OH  45402
Rehabilitation in Beavercreek
1244 Meadow Bridge Dr. Beavercreek, OH  45434
Rehabilitation in Jamestown
4940 Cottonville Rd. Jamestown, OH  45335
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