How is an extended supraglottic swallow performed in the treatment of dysphagia?

Updated: Mar 20, 2020
  • Author: Nam-Jong Paik, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Elizabeth A Moberg-Wolff, MD  more...
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The extended supraglottic swallow is helpful for patients with severe reductions in tongue mobility or severely reduced tongue bulk due to surgical procedures for oral cancer, because these persons essentially have little or no oral transit. Advise these patients to learn the following technique:

  • Hold your breath firmly

  • Put the entire 5-10 mL of liquid in your mouth

  • Continue to hold your breath and toss your head back, thus dumping the liquid into the pharynx as a whole

  • Swallow 2-3 times or as many times as needed to clear the majority of the liquid while continuing to hold your breath

  • Cough to clear any residue from the pharynx

The supersupraglottic swallow incorporates the supraglottic swallow with a Valsalva effect. This technique is designed to close the airway entrance voluntarily by tilting the arytenoid cartilage anteriorly to the base of the epiglottis before and during the swallow. This strategy is used in patients with reduced closure of the airway entrance, particularly those who have undergone supraglottic laryngectomy.

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