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Decreased Epiglottic Movement

Kelly Knollman-Porter, M.A.,CCC-SLP

May 11, 2009

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Question

I received a MBSS report on a patient that reports epiglottis sticking against pharyngeal wall during the swallow and slowly returning back to its position after 2-3 seconds. What would cause this and is treatment appropriate? What additional testing woul

Answer

In response to your question regarding epiglottic movement: First of all, I must ask a couple of questions...Has your client recently been intubated or do they have a NG tube in place? Also, what is your client current hydration status? Are they at risk for dehydration in anyway? Do they have a history of smoking in the past? The answer to these questions may impact my response.

However, in most cases, decreased epiglottic movement is the result of decreased laryngeal elevation/lift. I would recommend that laryngeal elevation facilitation strategies be utilized. This can be accomplished through the Masako/tongue holding technique or through the Shaker head lift technique.

Another option that should be considered is possibly referring the client to an ENT to further assess epiglottic functioning especially if they have a past history of smoking. By doing this you can rule out any possible pathology.

Kelly Knollman-Porter, M.A., CCC-SLP
Miami University
Speech Pathology and Audiology Department

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