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New videofluoroscopy service at Mayo University Hospital

 3 female members of the videofluroscopy service team at Mayo University Hospital standing in a clinical setting beside seated male patient,, Michael Browne

A new high-specification videofluoroscopy service has been introduced at Mayo University Hospital (MUH). The investment in this new equipment and software will improve patient outcomes at the hospital by providing high-quality diagnostic imagery to guide the management and treatment of patients with swallowing difficulties.

The videofluoroscopy service is led by the Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Department and is delivered in close collaboration with the Radiology Service at MUH.  Ballina native Michael Browne was the first patient to be treated with the new state-of-the-art diagnostic technology.

Videofluoroscopy is a specialised X-ray that shows what happens when you eat and drink. It is a detailed examination of the swallow and is considered the ‘gold standard’ for the assessment of swallowing difficulties, known as dysphagia.

Karen Waardenburg, Senior Speech and Language Therapist in MUH explains that “dysphagia can occur for a variety of reasons. Typical causes include a range of neurological conditions like stroke, dementia, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Dysphagia can also occur because of head and neck cancer, respiratory disorders, spinal injuries and idiopathic dysphagia with unknown cause.”

Karen adds that “the new technology in MUH will be used by the Speech and Language team to guide the management and treatment of patients with swallowing difficulties and means we can develop personalised strategies to help each patient to better manage their condition.”

Mairéad Lacken, Deputy Hospital Manager, outlined how she was “delighted this important quality improvement initiative is now in place.”

She added that “this new equipment and technology gives our Speech and Language Therapy Teams access to high quality, moving images and represents a significant enhancement to the facilities and services for SLT patients at Mayo University Hospital.”