CVS researchers have discovered that suction placed below the upper esophageal sphincter can eliminate aspiration in a cadaver model of oropharyngeal dysphagia.
In work presented at the Dysphagia Research Society, our team has shown that catheters of various sizes placed retrograde up the esophagus through a gastrostomy eliminated 100% of barium aspiration in a cadaver model of profound oropharyngeal dysphagia.
Dr. Belafsky envisions a modified feeding tube with a dual function. The tube would serve as a traditional PEG tube for enteral nutrition. In addition, the tube would have an accessory catheter positioned retrograde up the esophagus at the level of the upper esophageal sphincter. The tube would be connected to a suction device affixed to a belt or clip. It could be placed in the office with a transnasal esophagoscope (TNE). The suction would assist with transport of a bolus from the pharynx (throat) into the esophagus. Once in the esophagus, the bolus would travel into the stomach by peristalsis and gravity.
Although our research has established proof of concept, challenges remain and a funding source for further prototype development has not been identified.