Study looking at safety and efficacy of the Swallow Expansion Device (SED) for improvement of severe swallowing issues
Can the Swallow Expansion Device (SED) treat severe dysphagia?
Biomedical devices, such as artificial joints and pacemakers, are accepted and commonly used in medicine. While great progress in biomedical devices has been made for many other disorders, there is currently no device available to assist with the act of deglutition. The investigators have developed a biomedical device (Swallow Expansion Device, SED) that assists with swallowing by mechanically opening the upper esophageal sphincter and allowing food and liquid to safely enter the esophagus. The SED has proven safe in cadaver and live animal studies (Belafsky, 2010).
Safety and Efficacy of the Swallow Expansion Device (SED) for Improvement of Swallowing in Patients With Life-threatening Aspiration Secondary to Feeding Tube Dependent Oropharyngeal Dysphagia: A Single-site, Open-label, Phase 1 Human Trial
The purpose of this study is to evaluate if the SED can safely and effectively improve swallowing. Many people with severe swallowing disability (dysphagia) cannot open their upper esophageal sphincter, which is a circular band of muscle that acts like a valve, allowing food to enter the esophagus (food pipe) and go down into the stomach. People with extreme dysphagia may cough and choke on food, liquid, and even their own saliva. These people are always at risk of food/liquid/saliva accidently entering their lungs. This can cause pneumonia and, in some cases, death. The SED was developed by the University of California, Davis, to improve swallowing. The idea for the SED began when 6 people, who had feeding tubes for 100% of their nutrition because of severe swallowing disability, had a long suture thread attached to their throat. Patients pulled the two ends of the suture thread forward and were able to open their upper esophageal sphincter. In fact, their swallowing improved so much that 3 patients went home with the suture in place so that they could eat by mouth. Unfortunately, the skin around the suture became red and painful within 2-9 days of use. The suture was removed, but the idea for the SED was born. Since the suture study, three different models of the SED have been developed, with each subsequent model better able to improve swallowing, patient safety and use with other common medical tests. The current SED model looks like the letter "T" or a office tack used to stick paper on a wall or board. The SED has a plate and a post. The plate is like the top part of the "T" or smooth part of the tack. The plate is attached to the cartilage or flexible connective tissue of the throat. The SED post is like the bottom part of the "T" or pointy part of the tack, but instead of ending with a point, the end has a small ring. The post permanently sticks out from the throat, like a skin piercing, after the neck skin heals over the plate. Healing takes about 8 weeks. The SED is made out of titanium because this metal is extremely strong and commonly used in medical devices put into the body, such as hip joints or bone plates. A person can eat with the SED by having food enter their esophagus when the SED post is pulled forward with their fingers on the ring. Both sheep and human cadaver studies have shown that the SED works extremely well to widely open the upper esophageal sphincter. The University of California, Davis, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have determined that the SED is ready to be tested in a small human study.
Oropharyngeal Dysphagia (OPD) Dysphagia Feeding Tube Dependent Deglutition Disorders Swallowing Expansion Device
You can join if…
Open to people ages 18 years and up
- Profound oropharyngeal feeding tube dependent dysphagia of greater than 12 months duration, as documented by the prevalence of aspiration on fluoroscopic swallow study.
- Must be receiving 100% of nutritional requirements by enterogastric tube.
- 18 years of age and older, acceptable forms of documentation for verification of age include birth certificate, passport, and/or driver's license.
- Diminished upper esophageal sphincter opening defined as less than .55 cm for individuals under 65 years of age and less than .40 cm for individuals over 65 years of age on fluoroscopic swallow study.
- Failure of > 3 months of dysphagia therapy within 3 months of study enrollment.
- No documented history of noncompliance with feeding recommendations.
- Cognition that is within normal limits, as evidenced by an Abbreviated Mental Test Score (AMTS) score greater than 6.
- Manual dexterity that is within normal limits for age, sex, and hand, as evaluated by a Block and Box Test (BBT).
- Physical strength to pull the SED forward, as evidenced by the ability to lift a 5 lb weight off of a table and keep it elevated for 10 seconds.
- Ability to understand the informed consent and comply with follow-up, as evidenced by appropriate questions, responses, and comments during the initial evaluations and a normal Abbreviated Mental Test Score.
- Bilateral vocal fold mobility or unilateral vocal fold immobility in which the individual is able to attain complete glottic closure as evidenced on endoscopy.
You CAN'T join if...
- Profound oropharyngeal feeding tube dependent dysphagia < 12 months duration.
- Esophageal phase dysphagia as defined as personal history and/or documented diagnosis of esophageal dysmotility, hiatal hernia, stricture, eosinophilic esophagitis, erosive peptic esophagitis, and/or systemic disease affecting the esophagus.
- Able to safely consume any food or liquid by mouth, as documented by fluoroscopic swallow study.
- Normal UES opening, as evidenced by UES opening greater than .55 cm for individuals under 65 years of age and greater than .40 cm for individuals over 65 years of age on fluoroscopic swallow study.
- Currently pregnant, as evidenced by a positive result on a pregnancy test if the patient is within child bearing age (younger than 60 years of age).
- 17 years of age and younger, acceptable forms of documentation for verification of age include birth certificate, passport, and/or license.
- Success full receipt of dysphagia therapy or < 3 months of dysphagia therapy within 3 months of study enrollment.
- Lack of manual dexterity to operate swallowing expansion device as determined by a Block and Box Test (BBT) score below the normal limits per age, sex, and hand.
- Inability to lift a 5 lb weight off of a table and keep it elevated for 10 seconds.
- Lack of cognitive ability to operate swallowing expansion device or provide informed consent as evidenced by an Abbreviated Mental Test Score (AMTS) score less than 6.
- Active tumor involving the cricoid or laryngeal cartilage.
- Known allergic reaction to titanium as evidenced by personal history of allergic or adverse reaction to titanium.
- Infection of cartilage, head, and/or neck at time of evaluation and/or implantation as documented by recent imaging study or abnormal physical examination.
- Presence of a tracheotomy tube or airway obstruction necessitating a tracheotomy tube.
- A documented history of noncompliance with recommendations to take nothing by mouth.
- Patients with an insensate larynx. Laryngeal sensation will be assessed with laryngopharyngeal sensory testing. An insensate larynx is defined as a laryngopharyngeal sensory threshold < 6 mmHg air pulse pressure or a complete absence of the laryngeal adductor reflex on palpation of the arytenoid with a flexible laryngoscope.
- Patients with a current, at the time of evaluation, and/or history of Zenker's diverticulum.
- Patients with sialorrhea at the time of evaluation with or without oral commissure incompetence.
- Patients with profound xerostomia at the time of evaluation.
- Patients with orocutaneous or pharyngocutaneous fistulae at the time of evaluation.
- Patients with a current, at the time of evaluation, and/or history of immunosuppression, as defined by the patient having a diagnosed immunodeficiency disorder or on immunosuppressive medication.
- Patients with a current, at the time of evaluation, and/or history of coagulopathy, as defined by the patient having a diagnosed coagulation disorder or on anticoagulation medication (e.g., baby aspirin, over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, herbal agents, and warfarin, etc.) that cannot be temporarily stopped for the procedure.
- Patients taking sedatives, narcotics, muscle-relaxants, anxiolytics, medical marijuana, alcohol, nicotine, medicinal nicotine, or other mind-altering medications that may affect safe patient use of the swallowing device.
- Patients taking antifibrotic medications.
- Patients with bilateral vocal fold immobility in any position, as evidenced on endoscopy.
- Patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility and unable to attain complete glottic closure, as evidenced on endoscopy.
- Patients with current, at the time of evaluation, and/or documented history of subglottic stenosis, as evidenced on endoscopy.
- Patients with current, at the time of evaluation, and/or documented history of airway obstruction, as evidenced on endoscopy.
- Patients with a life expectancy < 2 years.
- University of California Department of Otolaryngology
accepting new patients
Sacramento California 95817 United States
Lead Scientist at UC Davis
- Peter Belafsky, MD PhD
Professor, Otolaryngology. Authored (or co-authored) 207 research publications.
Please contact me about this study
We will not share your information with anyone other than the team in charge of this study. Submitting your contact information does not obligate you to participate in research.
The study team should get back to you in a few business days.