Improving Detection and Clinical Care of Dysphagia in Cardiac Surgical Patients


The purpose of this research is to improve the identification of patients who are at greater risk for development of dysphagia (dys FAY juh – swallowing difficulties) after cardiac surgery. Post-operative dysphagia following cardiac surgery has been reported in up to 67% of cases.

We aim to develop a new non-invasive and quick screening test for use in patients to identify the likelihood or risk a patient has of having dysphagia to allow for better health outcomes. Your involvement in this study will end once you are discharged from the hospital following your heart operation.


  • We will collect information about your current and previous medical history before your heart operation
  • Quick ten-item survey about your perceived swallowing function
  • Collect information from your medical chart and doctor regarding your surgery and if possible assess the integrity of your vocal folds (voice box) by taking a picture of your voice box before your breathing tube is placed in the operating room using a fiberoptic scope (this will allow us to compare to imaging of your voice box taken after your surgery
  • Once you have recovered in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), and after you have had your endotracheal tube removed, we will perform a swallowing evaluation at your bedside
  • This is expected to take approximately thirty minutes and will involve a 3-ounce water drinking test, use of a fiberoptic
    scope to evaluate your swallowing ability, voluntary cough function testing, reflex cough testing, and vitals


  • 18 - 90 years old
  • Undergoing planned or emergent cardiothoracic surgery via sternotomy and/or extended thoracotomy requiring cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Willing to participate in post-operative swallowing evaluation testing

For additional study details and eligibility criteria, please contact Amber Anderson:


18 to 65
65 and over



Monetary compensation


Can be done from home



Dysphagia, General Cardiac Care, Neurology, Cardiopulmonary bypass

Principal Investigator

Emily Plowman, PhD, CCC-SLP



Contact Information

(352) 273-9725

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