The Aspiration Disorders app has features to help health professionals teach patients about aspiration swallowing disorders. The app has drawings and pictures of what happens during normal swallowing and during aspiration disorders. Aspiration happens when food or liquids from the stomach are breathed into the airways. It causes coughing and chocking and if the aspirated contents reaches the lungs, it can cause a serious condition called aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration disorders are more likely in people who have swallowing difficulties.
The language and illustrations in this app are quite technical. Consequently it is unlikely to have any benefit to consumers if used outside of a consultation with a speech language therapist. For the complete app description, go to the App Store or for a more detailed review, see Reviews.
✔ Pictures and videos of four different swallows: normal (no food/drink entered the airway), aspiration (entered the airway), silent (entered the airway wi0074hout a cough), and penetration/cough (stops just short of entering the airway).
✔ Each swallow has a picture, animation, barium swallow view and an endoscopic view (FEES).
✔ The user can draw over any of the pictures and videos.
✘ Extremely poor readability. The app description says it is targeted to both students and patients. However, it uses very high-level medical language which would require prior medical training to understand. It has a Flesch readability score of 22 (scale is 0 to 100, with 0 being very confusing/difficult, and 100 being very easy)
✘ Medical words are not clickable for explanations, and there is no glossary.
✘ For Apple devices only; no android version
✘ Costs $4.99 with no free version.
Date of review: August 2019 Platform reviewed: Apple Version: 1.3 Download size: 54.6 MB Updated on: 28/09/2017
If used within a consultation with a speech language therapist:
Reviewer: Jeremy Steinberg, GP Registrar, RNZCGP Date of review: August 2019 Comments: "I do not think this app is appropriate for patients, unless it was used as a tool during a consultation with a speech language therapist.
The extremely poor readability of this app means that I believe it is very unlikely to be useful for patients in isolation. The only context I could see it being useful is within a consultation with a speech language therapist, where the therapist uses the videos and pictures to help with explanations. Below is some example text from within the app (explanation for aspiration): “Aspiration occurs when material passes below the level of the true vocal folds and enters the airway. Possible etiologies for aspiration have been introduced under other sections in this tutorial. Additionally incompetence at the glottal or vocal fold level poses a higher risk of aspirated material into an open/unobstructed airway. In individuals with adequate sensation, a cough reflex is elicited in an effort to clear material from the airway. An effective cough is judged by the ability to clear aspirated material.
Significant aspiration occurs during the swallow due to delayed swallow initiation with pooling in the valleculae and pyriform sinuses prior to the swallow and reduced epiglottic inversion to protect the airway. The patient elicits a cough which expels material for the vocal folds however contrast material remains within the trachea. Residue after the swallow places the patient at continued risk for aspiration.”
Safety concerns: "None" New Zealand relevance: " No concerns"