University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute
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The Rehabilitation Research Center

Rehabilitation Technology

VitalStim® Therapy

VitalStim® Therapy is an innovative procedure that facilitates the retraining of throat muscles affected by dysphasia, or difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia is a common condition among stroke patients, patients with progressive neurological disorders and the elderly.

What is VitalStim® Therapy?

VitalStim® Therapy is a method used by rehabilitation specialists to promote swallowing. This method requires a small current to be passed through external electrodes on the patient's neck in order to stimulate inactive or atrophied swallowing muscles.

With repeated therapy, throat muscles can be retrained and patients can progress to an optimum level of swallowing function. Cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration, VitalStim can free some patients from the need for feeding tubes, leading to a return of normal daily eating and drinking.

Who uses VitalStim® Therapy?

At UM Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute, speech-language pathologists use Vitalstim primarily with patients on the stroke, brain injury and spinal cord injury units.

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