McMaster University

McMaster University

Swallowing Clinic


The St Joseph's Swallowing Clinic is a unique multidisciplinary clinic dedicated to understanding the causes of dysphagia. It was opened in June 2007 at St Joseph's Healthcare Centre Hamilton, and is affiliated with Mcmaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Our goal is to identify the cause of an individual's swallowing problem and to restore swallowing function to a level as normal as possible in order to improve quality of life and nutrition. Our mission also includes clinical research and education for patients, families, and health care professionals.

Dr. Sergio Angel Mazzadi, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
General Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology
McMaster University
St Joseph's Healthcare Centre

Incidence and prevalence

X-ray of neck

Oropharyngeal dysphagia has high morbidity, mortality, and cost in health. Although epidemiological data are scarce, estimates of the prevalence of dysphagia among individuals older than 50 years range from 16% to 22%.

Within health care institutions, it is estimated that 12% to 13% of patients in short-term care hospitals and up to 60% of nursing home occupants have feeding difficulties. On these, substantial proportions are troubled by oral or pharyngeal as opposed to esophageal dysphagia.

Similarly, special populations, such as those with head injuries, cerebrovascular accidents, or Parkinson's disease, have a 20% to 40% prevalence of oropharyngeal dysphagia.

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