Dysphagia Systems Test

DST, or Dysphagia Systems Test is a comprehensive dysphagia evaluation and therapeutic ‘all-inclusive’ session, performed by a clinically privileged Speech and Language Pathologist, for the purpose of providing information to a skilled care facility, that will enable more effective management of the patient’s dysphagia–related risks.

The DST is a portable procedure that may be completed in the clinic, office, at bedside, or wherever the patient needs to be examined. Following a thorough dysphagia evaluation process, a fiberoptic endoscope is passed transnasally, permitting inspection of swallowing mechanisms and functions from the velopharynx to hypopharynx and larynx. Status of standing secretions in the hypopharynx, frequency/ effectiveness of spontaneous swallowing, and potential implications for aspiration are taken into consideration as the exam proceeds. The patient is then directed to perform various tasks to evaluate the sensory and motor status of the pharyngeal and laryngeal mechanism. Laryngeal competence is assessed by observing volitional, maintained closure, of the airway as a potential airway protection mechanism.