aspirating — The Bump
Special Needs


Does anyones DC aspirate food or liquid? It is common with SMA kids but so far Owen has seemed OK.  How did you know your DC was aspirating? I find that with water he seems to choke more and I am not sure if that is because most of the other liquids he drinks are thicker...pediasure...instant breakfast and  flavored milk. Fill me in if your DC had trouble with this and what did you do from there?


Re: aspirating

  • Can't give you the personal advice, but I can give you the SLP view.  This is not an area I work in personally because I'm a different type of therapist, but it is something I have coursework in from grad school.  When you learn about aspiration, as a rule they want you to be VERY cautious, meaning that the only way to be sure is to have a swallow study.  I don't know if that's how standard practice is in the real world, but if this were a scenario on an exam, the answer would be something like "Due to a medical condition making aspiration likely, monitoring through regular swallow evaluations and at-home observations by parents during mealtimes are recommended."  Plus info on possible modifications.

    It is VERY possible for a person to have silent aspiration, when they are aspirating and you might have no clue whatsoever.  We usually look for chronic illness (especially pnemonia), gurgly wet voice, inactivity after a meal (from low oxygen), and other signs. But the only way to be sure is to have a swallow eval - some people literally pour liquid into their lungs with no reaction whatsoever at the time.

    Thin liquids are more easy to choke on because they don't stay together as well, so your observations sound solid to me.

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  • Ask your Dr. for an S.T. evalulation secondary to "dysphagia".  Swallowing disorders can be managed many ways.  A thorough assessment by an SLP knowledgible in swallowing disorders is the first place to start. 

     I am an SLP working with adults with Dysphagia.  Modifications can be made to food to reduce/eliminate aspiration.  (For example...thickening liquids, chopping foods, adding moisture to dry foods, etc.) 

     Good luck.  

  • DD ended up with aspiration pneumonia on New Years Eve.  We had no idea she had aspirated or that she was sick.  At the time she had a feeding tube in her nose that bipassed her stomach and went into her intestines.  She started vomiting formula so we thought the tube had dislodged out of her intestines. We took her for an xray and sure enough it was in her belly and not in her intestines where it should be. They also found the pneumonia. We had no clue. 
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