PEG fed - sputum swallow problem - possible relief

Hi

My dad is an advanced PSP sufferer - he also has a PEG tube inserted about 2 months ago

I want to give 2 tips here, in case it helps someone:

1. He was producing a lot of sputum and we removed milk from his PEG feed and the problem is almost 90% better now

2. Sometimes he has a lot of sputum in his throat and he cannot swallow - turning him on his side doesn't help either - if at that time, he is given his PEG feed, the swallowing problem stops in less than a minute - I am not sure what happens, maybe the PEG feed somehow nudges the throat to remember how to swallow - but please note, this is not choking/coughing as with aspiration, that's when the saliva is stuck in the wind pipe and the patient has problems breathing - in that case, please rush to the hospital ASAP)

I also have a sputum suction machine - it's Chinese and cost the equivalent of about 70 USD and I hope it works, in case it's needed

5 Replies

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  • Thank you for the info...It's weird how things work eh?

    AVB

  • Yes, I would never have guessed it - I have been taking care of dad's feeds since he got on the PEG - I had to be away for a few days for work and my mom stumbled upon this idea :)

  • two reasons I can think of

    1) pressurization when PEG is initiated it causes a pressure or a release in pressure allowing functional swallow.

    2)He's hungry....the actual feeding relaxes your dad satisfying his feed need ie swallow.

    Just a thought

    AVB

  • Not noticed problem with M's PEG feeding but we use the Ensure products ( on prescription in UK) though milk based they do not seem to thicken M's saliva (yet), My take on why everything seems to ease for M, (anxiety, stiffness, gagging etc) when she has her PEG feed is that she seems to go into a relaxed state while being fed by me but I do tickle and stroke her while putting the food down the tube. Not machine fed. Just a thought Tim

  • Thanks, Amilazy - that could be it - in my dad's case I think it relaxes the stomach and that relaxes his brain as well and instinctively he swallows - he is manually fed through a syringe as well

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