National Prion Clinic


Eating and swallowing

Dysphagia Management in CJD

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Eating and swallowing is a complex act which involves the coordination of over 30 different nerves and muscles that all under the control of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

CJD is a progressive neurological condition with widespread central nervous system degeneration, this leads to loss of functions including disruption to the swallowing function which is known as dysphagia.

To understand dysphagia, we need to understand the processes of how we swallow.

Stages of normal swallow


Stages of normal swallow
Oral PrepOral PhasePharyngeal PhaseOesophageal Phase
  • Anticipation and awareness
  • Smell/look of food
  • Salivary response
  • Getting lips ready to
    receive a piece of food/cutlery
  • Taste
  • Chewwing, moving
    food around the mouth
  • Collecting into a ball
    in the middle of the tongue
  • Transporting food backwards
    towards the throat
  • Swallow trigger
  • Suspension of breath
  • Closure of airway
  • Propel food through pharynx
  • Squeezing food through from top
    of the oesophagus into the stomach by peristalsis