Dsyphagia Treatment Questions

5 Oct

I was doing the assigned readings for Anatomy (among other things, highlighting special dysphagia recipes  and concurrently at work we had an anorexic cat come in, which made me wonder:

Ok, so medical/surgical intervention is all about if the benefits of doing something outweigh the risks.  Example:  Doing a dental, which necessitates sedation IS worthwhile in a six year old kitty without heart issues, while it is NOT worth the risk in a 17 year old cat with a heart condition (or probably in the 17 y.o. cat even without a known heart issue).  And over and over, the text says how serious and life-threatening dysphagia can be for patients.  They can easily aspirate or get an aspiration pneumonia

Which brings me to my question:  On Intervention I saw this gal who an an eating disorder where they had placed a feeding tube directly in her stomach.  And she could feed herself that way.  This particular lady had kept it in for years–which was way too long.  The only ill-effect (aside from her mental condition and disordered thoughts) was skin infection and hygiene of the tube.  BUT in life-threatening dysphasia patients, wouldn’t a little skin infection be a worthwhile risk if aspiration could be completely avoided?

On the same track, we have a cat at work who went anorexic.  And in felines even three days without eating (for whatever reason, whether it’s a disease process, nausea, or pickiness) can cause liver failure.  So it’s very important to either stimulate the cat to eat, syringe-feed them, or place a feeding tube.  We placed the tube right from neck to stomach.  And then put the food, and medications right in the tube–nothing by mouth.  So couldn’t you just place a feeding tube and then throw antibiotics into the tube for dysphagia?  Or give periodic antibiotic injections to ward off the skin infection of a long-term feeding tube?

It seems to me the feeding tube is a better option for someone with swallowing difficulty then tedious meal plans and risk of aspiration. . .

And my last question–I’ve heard of anorexics getting “nutrition” through their IV bags.  Is that a thing, and can’t that be done for dysphagia patients, who have it from, say, ALS?  Where they might be bed-ridden anyway?

There is research to be done.

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