UCLA's Swallowing Disorders Clinic provides expert personnel and state-of-the-art equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders.
Swallowing problems (dysphagia) can occur at any point in the process of moving food, liquid, or saliva from the mouth through the throat (pharynx), into the esophagus and to the stomach. These problems may result in poor nutrition, dehydration or aspiration (accidental ingestion of food particles or fluids into the lungs).
Dysphagia reduces quality of life. Swallowing disorders are often accompanied by voice impairment (dysphonia) as well. The central goal of the Clinic is to provide comprehensive evaluation and management of dysphagia and related disorders and improve quality of life.
The program's guiding principles include fostering an environment for research, education, and training of future clinicians in the field of dysphagia and dysphonia.
Indications of a swallowing disorder may include:
Patients may suffer from swallowing or voice difficulties for a number of reasons, including:
The Swallowing Disorders Program offers expert personnel devoted and an array of sophisticated diagnostic tools and treatment modalities. Many diagnostic procedures that previously required sedation in an operating room can now be administered in the Clinic suite using topical anesthesia.
Procedures performed include:
The Clinic's unique approach involves evaluation of patients with swallowing problems by both an otolaryngologist and a speech pathologist as needed in the same premises. Usually, these specialists work in separate clinics, requiring the patient to seek care in multiple locations. A comprehensive surgical, medical, or rehabilitation management plan, tailored to the individual patient, is then developed without delay. Quick targeted referrals are set up with neurologists, gastroenterologists, and thoracic surgeons especially interested in the care of patients with dysphagia. Each patient receives a personalized treatment and monitoring regimen based on his or her medical and personal needs.
Dinesh K. Chhetri, MD, is the Director of the Swallowing Disorders Program and is a nationally recognized expert on voice, airway, and swallowing disorders.
Program Speech Pathologist
Andrew Erman, M.A., C.C.C.-S.L.P.
Manager, Speech Pathology Clinic
Information, Referral, and Appointments: (310) 794-4225