Phagenyx Helps Treat Difficulty Swallowing After Stroke

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, can dramatically decrease a person’s quality of life and lead to poor nutritional intake. Neurological oropharyngeal dysphagia is due to damage to the nerves that control the muscles related to swallowing, often caused by strokes or other neurological conditions.

The Phagenyx System is a neurostimulation device that helps to restore neurological swallowing control through electrical stimulation. The device delivers small amounts of electrical stimulation to a specific area of the pharynx. This stimulation travels along the nerve pathways from the pharynx to the usually non-dominant swallow control center of the brain, where increased activity results in improvements in swallow function. In one study of 50 stroke patients with dysphagia, those who received the treatment were able to go home an average of five days sooner than those who did not.

The Phagenyx System consists of a touch-screen base station, which delivers and records optimal stimulations for each patient, plus a catheter with two electrodes through which the stimulation is delivered. The treatment regime consists of 10-minute sessions per day for 3 consecutive days. According to the company, the stimulation is often described as a fizzing or tingling sensation in the throat that can be uncomfortable but not painful.

Phagenesis Ltd., the Manchester, England-based company behind Phagenyx, announced in January that its device received FDA Breakthrough Device Designation. It is currently CE marked in Europe.

Check out this video on how it works:

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Product page: Phagenyx

Cici Zhou

Cici Zhou is currently a medical student at the University of Oklahoma. In the past, she has done management consulting for medical startups and recently spent summer as a lab researcher at UC San Francisco. As a future physician, she’s excited by the intersection of medicine + technology because of its ability to completely transform the industry and touch millions of lives.