Supraglottic swallow

A swallowing technique in which a person coughs right at the end of a swallow to help prevent any swallowed food or liquid from going down into the airway. This technique is especially useful for individuals who have undergone a supraglottic laryngectomy, because the upper part of the larynx (epiglottis, aryepiglottic cords, false cords, etc.) has been removed and can no longer help to shield or divert swallowed material.

For each and every swallow, the person will do as follows: first, finish chewing; then, hold the food or liquid in the mouth and fill the lungs with air; then, with the food or liquid still in the mouth, hold his or breath; then, swallow forcefully and, without hesitation, cough immediately on the tail end of the swallow. At our practice we call this technique a “swallowcough,” to signify that the cough occurs using pent-up air from the lungs, and not air drawn in between the swallow and the cough.