Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Speech Language Pathology Degree

Department

Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Cox, Violet

Second Advisor

Myrita S. Wilhite Ph.D., AuD, CCC-A

Third Advisor

Joanna DeMarco DHSc, CHES

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to establish whether dysphagia presented concomitantly with COVID-19 from the perspective of speech language pathologists. Three main research questions were examined (1) Does dysphagia occur as a symptom or a secondary condition to COVID-19? (2) What is the nature of dysphagia seen in COVID-19 patients? (3) Does dysphagia occur as a result of COVID-19 treatment protocols? This qualitative study involved 20 participants who were medical speech language pathologists in hospitals across several states. A survey was submitted to participants via Qualtrics. Although the answers to some research questions were not conclusive, it appeared that most individuals with severe cases of COVID-19 experienced some form of dysphagia. It was found that the breathe-swallow coordination played an important role in the onset of dysphagia following use of respiratory support devices such as oral endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation and enteral nutrition through a nasogastric tube.

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