Special special swallow chair for children put into use at UMCG

Children with swallowing problems

Babies and children with swallowing problems are treated at the UMCG. Due to various conditions, such as brain damage, heart problems, muscle diseases or syndromes, children can have great difficulty swallowing. Sometimes children regularly have pneumonia, without it being clear that this is because they are constantly choking. It also happens that parents are not sure which food and drink is safe to give; food and drink that the child is less likely to choke on.


‘Swallowing food or drink, but also choking in their own saliva can often cause a child to be sick or have difficulty breathing,’ says UMCG speech therapist Florentine Schepers.

Swallowing video and nutritional advice

The pediatric speech therapy team of the Center for Rehabilitation and the Radiology Department of the UMCG examine these children. Part of this research is making a swallow video. ‘On the basis of such a video, we can clearly see which substances cause problems and give good nutritional advice,’ says Schepers. ‘We then advise, for example, to only eat dessert-like substances, or just drink it. And in some cases it even turns out that a child should not eat or drink anything anymore.’

Better posture in the swallow chair

Making such a swallow video is often difficult. It is difficult to get the child into the correct position on an ordinary chair, also because children are often in a wheelchair. Sometimes children had to sit on a parent’s lap, which means that parents are also in the radiation area. To improve this, the swallow chair has been designed.


The swallow chair is adjustable to size for children from 2 to 18 years and with a matching shell also suitable for babies. The chair was designed by students of the Biomedical Engineering program of the University of Groningen, then built by artist Hèlen Meek and finally painted by artist Mariëlle Dijkstra. Inner Wheel Groningen-East sponsored the chair with an amount of 4,000 euros.

Jurre has energy to be naughty again

On Tuesday 19 October, everyone gathered to officially use the chair. The swallow chair was offered to 11-year-old Jurre, a patient at the UMCG. ‘Jurre is a vulnerable boy, who was often ill,’ says Schepers. ‘He coughed all day and was very tired because of it. He regularly had pneumonia.’

Nutrition in trachea

Jurre was one of the first children for whom we made a swallowing video in collaboration between pediatric speech therapy and pediatric radiology, Schepers continues. ‘We immediately saw on the swallowing video that it was not going well. That the food entered his windpipe without coughing. It had major consequences. Together with doctors, speech therapists and his parents, we decided that Jurre should no longer eat by mouth and that everything should be ingested through the tube. It had a huge impact on him: a boy who enjoyed food and drink so much.’

Energy again

The nutritional advice worked out well. Jurre no longer coughs all day, is no longer so tired, no longer has pneumonia, can manage the days at school better and can stay up longer. He has energy again to develop, to play sports and to play and is occasionally a bit naughty: just as it should be with young children. He now only drinks water and has his own popsicles.

Special special swallow chair for children put into use at UMCG
Source link Special special swallow chair for children put into use at UMCG

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