The St George Hospital Swallow Centre

Did you know, each of us swallows 1200 times each day without even thinking about – we take this life sustaining vital function for granted!

However, patients with severe swallowing difficulties cannot eat outside of the home and may require tube feeding. They suffer from poor nutrition and can have food and liquid soil the lungs causing life threatening pneumonia.

Patients with head and neck cancer are increasingly surviving their cancer but many succumb to treatment-related swallowing dysfunction.

The St George Hospital Swallow Centre, a unique multidisciplinary team comprising topflight clinicians and talented scientists all of whom are embedded within the St George Hospital is changing that, using their combined skills to maximally benefit patients and our community.

Enzo, a patient of the St George Hospital Swallow Centre said he was grateful for the level of care he receives at the Centre.

“Thank you, St George Swallow Centre researchers, – I never knew how much swallowing was linked to enjoying life until I had a problem with it.”

Before starting treatment at the Centre, patients Buddy and Gail believed their swallowing disorder had impacted their lives forever.

“Thank you, St George Swallow Centre Researchers, I thought normal life of eating, drinking and socialising was over until your team treated me with outstanding care and results, I am forever grateful,” Buddy said.

Currently the St George Hospital Swallow Centre research team are conducting crucial research into a wide range of swallowing disorders related to disorders such as head and neck cancer, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

The research team, supported in part by the St George & Sutherland Medical Research Foundation (SSMRF), is conducting ground breaking research into the mechanisms of swallow dysfunction and continue to develop novel techniques to detect and objectively measure specific mechanical disturbances relating to their underlying disease.

St George Hospital Swallow Centre research is helping the team devise better focussed therapy to minimise collateral damage from cancer treatment and evaluate novel targeted therapies in a wide range of other swallowing disorders.

About the St George Swallow Centre

The St George Swallow Centre was established in 1995 by Professor Ian Cook and his team on the St George Hospital campus. It provides a specialised multidisciplinary clinical service to assess and treat patients who present with a wide range of swallowing disorders. The Centre provides expert clinical assessment in our Swallow Clinic staffed by Gastroenterologists, Speech Pathologist, and Dietician and is supported by affiliated medical, surgical and diagnostic services within St George Hospital.

The St George Hospital Swallow Centre Research Team is comprising of Gastroenterologists, Scientists, Radiation Oncologist and Speech Pathologist are pictured here holding commonly eaten red foods and drinks – simple pleasures in life that are not safely available to many of the centre’s patients.

L:R A/Prof Julia Maclean, Professor Ian Cook, A/Prof Peter Graham, Dr Peter Wu, Dr Michal Szczesniak, Mr Dheeraj Pandey

Patient photos: Gail, Buddy, Enzo

The St George Swallow Centre has gone Red for Research to help raise funds and awareness for research in St George and Sutherland hospitals. Show your support my making a tax-deductible donation here.