June 8, 2004
Over the last month or so Russ has been getting electro stimulation therapy on his throat. This is a course of therapy called VitalStim. The main purpose is to strengthen the muscles which control swallowing. We are also hoping as a side benefit that this therapy will help strengthen the muscles used for speech.
We have now completed 12 treatments and it is time to judge the results with a fluoroscopic swallow test. Russ received these tests at Kessler and most recently had a test just before the VitalStim treatments began.
After about two treatments we could tell that the therapy was helping. Russ was able to drink thin liquids with much less coughing and choking. Yesterday Russ had the followup swallow test to judge his progress. Everyone was very impressed with his progress. George-Anne videotaped the test and you could very obviously see the improvement. His swallowing movements were much more effective and the whole swallowing procedure was much faster. We can see very slight aspiration of liquid still happening so we are going to continue with another couple treatments but the therapy has been a major success.
Thanks for following his progress.