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Adult Dysphagia

Dysphagia may result from numerous etiologies secondary to damage to the central nervous system (CNS) and/or cranial nerves, and unilateral cortical and subcortical lesions, due to

  • stroke;
  • traumatic brain injury;
  • spinal cord injury;
  • dementia;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease);
  • muscular dystrophy;
  • developmental disabilities in an adult population (i.e., cerebral palsy);
  • post-polio syndrome; and/or
  • myasthenia gravis.

Dysphagia may also occur from problems affecting the head and neck, including

  • cancer in the oral cavity, pharynx, nasopharynx, or esophagus;
  • chemoradiation for head and neck cancer treatment;
  • trauma or surgery involving the head and neck;
  • decayed or missing teeth;
  • critical care that may have included oral intubation and/or tracheostomy;
  • certain medications;
  • in patients with certain metabolic disturbances;
  • in patients with infectious diseases (e.g., sepsis, acquired immune deficiency syndrome [AIDS]);
  • in patients with a variety of pulmonary diseases (e.g., cardiac obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]);
  • in patients with GERD;
  • in patients following cardiothoracic surgery; and/or
  • in decompensated elderly patients.

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