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Bhumica Rajani

Swallowing problem and tracheostomy secreations

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My father was diagnosed with parkinson 10 years ago. We admitted him to hospital for hallucinations and psychosis. He was refusing to eat at home. His condition became worse when we brought him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with aspiration pneumoina . Because of this infection his body was not responding to parkinson medicines. The doctors told us they had to do tracheostomy surgery for saving his life as he was unable to take out his secreations and lot of secreations were coming at that time. Now he has recovered from pnemonia and his movements are fine. But another big issue has come now . His swallowing test is failing . Doctors says they cannot remove tracheostomy tube until the swallowing test passes. What to do now?

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Your father's swallowing disorder must be significant if he is have difficulty managing his own secretions and aspiration caused pneumonia that required the placement of a tracheostomy tube.  It is impossible for me to say what should come next without seeing your father in person.  Is he receiving swallowing therapy at the present time?  If he is, ask the speech-language pathologist what the goals are and whether there is an expectation that your father could recover enough swallowing ability to eventually remove the tracheostomy tube.  The speech-language pathologist in charge of his case will be able to tell you what to do next.  If he is not receiving swallowing therapy, then you could request a referral to a speech-language pathologist who is experienced in treating people with PD.


I wish you and your father the best.




Dr. Mahler

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