Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde vol:149 issue:5 pages:251-256
OBJECTIVE: To inventory the experiences of a multidisciplinary team for the treatment of patients with chronic swallowing problems. DESIGN: Descriptive, retrospective. METHOD: Data were collected on the cause, treatment and course in 400 consecutive ambulatory patients who had had swallowing problems for at least several months. During the period from 1 October 1996 to 30 April 2002 they had been referred to a multidisciplinary team consisting of a radiologist, an otorhinolaryngologist, a thoracic surgeon, a logopaedician, a neurologist and an internist-geriatrician in the University Hospitals of the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). RESULTS: The group of 4oo patients consisted of 236 men and 164 women, one-third of whom were 70 years of age or older. Half of the patients had problems swallowing solid food and more than 10% were unable to take any food by mouth. Most of the underlying conditions were neurological. The most commonly prescribed treatments were adjustments to the diet and posture (41%) and logopaedic guidance (36%). The safety and comfort of swallowing were improved in 44% of the patients, 13% were able to feed themselves orally once more after the intervention and in 11% there was still an indication for a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) catheter.