2835 W St. Germain #300
P.O. Box 7729
St. Cloud, MN 56301-7729
Phone: (320) 259-4151
Toll Free: (888) 404-7768
Fax: (320) 259-5707
Contact us here
Vital Stim Therapy
What is Vital Stim Therapy?
Vital Stim Therapy is a new medical break through used in the treatment of swallowing disorders. It is an active rehabilitation program, combining the benefits of neuromuscular electrical stimulation and volitional therapeutic programming. This new therapy incorporates a specialized neuromuscular electrical stimulation system and uniquely designed service electrodes to stimulate inactive swallowing musculature commonly found in patients with dysphasia. Using this procedure allows the therapist to implement an active therapy to create or relearn functional muscle use patterns necessary to initiate or re-establish swallowing.
Who is a candidate for this type of therapy?
Whether or not an individual is a candidate for using Vital Stim therapy is dependent upon the results of a swallow video. Before an individual can begin the regime of vital stim therapy, the individual must first have a swallow video completed. The swallow video then is used as a tool to establish correct placement of electrodes on an individual's throat. The main goal of vital stim therapy is to strengthen weak muscles and to help him in the recovery of motor-control. This procedure is can be used both on pediatrics and adults. Coarse of treatment consists of two to five sessions per week at two to three weeks at a time and these sessions last 60 minutes each.
How does electrical stim work?
For adults, four electrodes are placed on the front portion of their neck. For children, two electrodes are used due to the size of the muscles in the neck. The electrodes are connected to an FDA approved electrical stimulation device. The therapist then proceeds with swallow treatment which may consist of using compensatory safe swallow strategies such as chin tuck, small sips, small bites, and alternating food and liquids. This can also include progression of swallow progressing from pureed up to regular type food. Average number of treatment sessions per cycle of treatment is 10 to 14 sessions.
What is the process for using Vital Stim to treat dysphasia?
Physician's referral for a swallow evaluation is required prior to Vital Stim. Swallow evaluation includes:
Who can administer Vital Stimulation?
- Review of patient history.
- Completed functional assessment of swallowing
- A modified barium study performed before starting electrical stimulation.
- Develop a treatment plan, which may include Vital Stim.
Specialty Certification is required for Speech-Language Pathologists or Registered Occupational Therapists to administer Vital Stim.
How is Vital Stim billed?
Vital stim therapy is billed as normal swallow treatment with one modality code added to this to cover the cost of replacement of the electrodes. Since it is a new technique, medical insurance may or may not reimburse the service. However, SPOT Rehabilitation will make every effort to provide your insurance carrier with information to make an informed decision.