VitalStim therapy

What is VitalStim therapy?

VitalStim therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals with difficulty eating, drinking and swallowing, known as dysphagia.

VitalStim therapy is a specialised form of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) meaning that an electrical current is carefully administered to the motor nerves of the throat causing the swallowing muscles to contract. This is an external process and is therefore non-invasive to patients.

The main aim of VitalStim therapy is to re-educate the normal swallowing function of a dysphagia patient.

During the electrical stimulation a speech and language therapist will guide the patient through swallowing exercises. By completing these exercises alongside the NMES the muscle strength and effectiveness of swallowing exercises is increased.

VitalStim therapy is usually administered in 60 minute sessions 3-5 times a week dependent on the individual's need. Therapy will continue until swallowing has been restored to nearly normal level or until the swallow is safe for the patient.

What conditions can VitalStim therapy be used for?

VitalStim therapy is a technique used when an individual has eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties, also known as dysphagia.

Dysphagia can result from the normal ageing process or other conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Huntington’s disease and head and neck cancer.

What are the benefits of VitalStim therapy?

There are many benefits of VitalStim therapy. The main benefit is being able to swallow safely and effectively. VitalStim therapy may also have social benefits on an individual as they may feel more confident with their eating and drinking and will be able to go out with friends. Therapy may also improve the patient's quality of life and provide emotional benefits.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email or call 0330 088 5643.

Related pages

Eating, drinking and swallowing Immediate assessment Reports Second opinions Management Training for care staff Courses for professionals Medico-legal reports Mental capacity assessments Multidisciplinary therapy VitalStim therapy Advice and education Videofluoroscopy FEES
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Worried about your swallowing?

If you are worried about any aspect of your eating, drinking and swallowing, do not hesitate to contact us to speak to one of our passionate speech and language therapists.

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If you would like any more information on our training for other professionals or any of our other speech and language therapy services, or would like to book an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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