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Press Release

SLMC Therapy Another Breakthrough

Dr. Reynaldo Rey-Matias, St. Luke’s Head of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (right), supervises a patient’s swallowing rehabilitation using the VitalStim® Therapy system.

St. Luke's Medical Center’s (SLMC) Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has unveiled a top-of-the-line therapeutic machine aimed at patients with swallowing difficultiesor dysphagia, one of the leading causes of death for stroke patients.

The VitalStim® Therapy System has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the treatment of dysphagia or swallowing problems, an added treatment that SLMC utilizes in making the quality of life better for stroke patients.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the Philippines, as per data from the Department of Health. DOH statistics show that diseases of the heart is the leading cause of death followed by diseases of the vascular system.

SLMC rehab department head Dr. Reynaldo R. Rey-Matias said a "small, carefully calibrated current is delivered by electrodes". This helps the muscles to relearn swallowing. "This modality is specifically developed for the treatment of dysphagia and not for other skeletal muscles like in conventional electrical stimulation (ES) treatments, “ Dr.Rey-Matias added.

According to Dr.Rey-Matias , the use of the VitalStim® Therapy System for dysphagia is an added treatment mode that the rehab center uses in tandem with their rehabilitation programs for improved swallowing.

Using the VitalStim® Therapy System,the SLMC rehab team of physicians is focused on restoring the health and functional abilities of people after acute illness or injury such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, cardiovascular, pulmonary, head and neck cancer.

St. Luke's new modality for swallowing rehabilitation, according to Dr.Rey-Matias is part of the medical center's programs to making life better for patients. He said that the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research findings reveal that a significant number of patients die from complications associated with swallowing difficulties, most commonly aspiration pneumonia.

The Agency for Health Care Policy Research also determined that deaths occur due to food or saliva going down the windpipe and into the lungs as the throat muscles do not contract, which is treated with the hospital’s VitalStim® Therapy System.

SLMC has been at the forefront of medical innovations in treatment protocols such that it has some of the most stringent international accreditations and certifications such as the Joint Commission International (JCI) Accreditation, TEMOS certification, Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brand Platinum Award and the Best Hospitals Worldwide 2014 recognition by the Diplomatic Council of Europe.

For inquiries on the VitalStim® Therapy System, contact the Department of Physical Medical and Rehabilitation at St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City at (632) 7230101/0301 ext. 5415/ 4177.

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