What is it?
VitalStim therapy is a treatment of dysphagia, or swallowing disorders.  It utilizes neuromuscular electrical stimulation to help “wake up” or re-educate the muscles used in swallowing.

Is it safe?
Yes.  VitalStim Therapy has been approved by the FDA in the treatment of swallowing disorders.

Is it effective?
Yes.  For patients with severe dysphagia, VitalStim has had a *published success rate of 97% in restoring swallowing function past the point of requiring a PEG.  For all cases of dysphagia, 97.8-100% of patients showed some degree of improvement.  * Freed, M.L., Freed, L., Chatburn, R.L., Christian, M.  Electrical stimulation for swallowing disorders caused by stroke.  Respiratory Care 2001; 46(5): 446-474

Is it for everyone? 
VitalStim is indicated for the following diagnoses:
- CVA or TIA - Neurodegenerative diseases such as:
- Mental Retardation * Multiple Sclerosis
- Cerebral Palsy * Myasthenia Gravis
- History of Intubation   * ALS
- Head, neck, and lung cancer * Parkinson’s disease
- Chronic pulmonary disorder * Post-polio syndrome
- And more…

Caution should be used on those with cardiac demand pacemakers.  VitalStim is contraindicated for those with severe dementia or exhibit non-stop verbalization; patients with significant reflux due to use of a feeding tube; and patients with dysphagia due to drug toxicity.

Who offers VitalStim?
VitalStim Therapy is offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.

What is the typical length of time before I see improvements?
On average, it takes between 10-14 sessions to see improvements in the acute stages of dysphagia.  Patients who have suffered from dysphagia for an extended period of time may require additional sessions but they can still benefit from VitalStim and even return to a full normal diet.

Do I need a doctor’s order?
On an outpatient basis, a doctor’s referral for speech therapy is required.  We provide this treatment to our inpatients as well, under the supervision of the admitting doctor.

How do I get more information?
If you have further questions, please contact any of our VitalStim team members:
Inpatient: (225) 231-3131 Outpatient: (225) 231-3109

How do I make a referral?
Inpatient Admissions: (225) 231-3008; fax: (225) 231-3003
Outpatient Admissions: (225) 231-3122; fax: (225) 231-3031

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