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Bismarck

Sanford Downtown Walk-in Clinic
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Sanford North Walk-in Clinic
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Sanford Children's Walk-in Clinic
Serving children
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Minot


Sanford Health Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
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Programs and services:

VitalStim therapy


Related services
An estimated 15 million Americans are afflicted with dysphagia, a condition that causes discomfort or difficulty swallowing. At its most severe—when patients entirely lose their ability to eat—dysphagia can profoundly disrupt a life. VitalStim therapy, the only FDA-approved therapy for dysphagia, helps patients return to normalcy.

Dysphagia is common among stroke survivors, patients with neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and patients with head and neck cancer. It disproportionately affects the elderly—an estimated half of all nursing home residents suffer from it.

How does VitalStim work?

VitalStim therapy uses small electrical currents to stimulate the muscles responsible for swallowing. A small, carefully calibrated current is delivered by specially-designed electrodes. The current stimulates motor nerves in the throat to the muscles that allow you to swallow. The only reported adverse affects are slight, occasional redness of the skin.

In combination with VitalStim therapy, trained specialists help patients "re-educate" their muscles through rehabilitation therapy. VitalStim therapy must be prescribed by a doctor.

VitalStim statistics

VitalStim therapy is the only dysphagia therapy backed by compelling clinical data and cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • 98.4 percent of patients improved their swallow function with VitalStim therapy
  • 97.5 percent of patients with severe dysphagia regained swallow function past the point of tube dependency
  • 38.3 percent of patients with severe dysphagia regained full, normal swallow function with VitalStim therapy
  • 76 percent of patients had retained swallow function and only three percent reported aspiration at a three-year follow-up

Therapists

   
Marjorie Marjorie Johnson
Speech language pathologist
VitalStim certified
Sanford Rehabilitation Center
   
Tracy Kopel Tracy Kopel
Speech language pathologist
VitalStim certified
Sanford Rehabilitation Center
   
Tracey Tracey Lockrem
Speech language pathologist
Pediatric VitalStim certified
Sanford Rehabilitation Center
   
Karmen Steffan Karmen Steffan
Speech language pathologist
VitalStim certified
Sanford Rehabilitation Center
   
Renee Ward Renee Ward
Speech language pathologist
VitalStim certified
Sanford Rehabilitation Center

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