Published on March 04, 2022

NMMC Acute Rehabilitation Adds Inpatient FEES Testing

Fees study done on Brandon bath

Speech-language pathologist Jamie Elliot of NMMC’s Acute Rehabilitation Services performs a FEES study on volunteer Brandon Bath during a training session Feb. 28.

Speech-language pathologists at North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo recently trained on new equipment to assess patients’ swallow and voice.

The test helps determine problems and possible solutions for safe swallowing to help prevent aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when food/drink or saliva enters the lungs instead of the esophagus and stomach. It also allows visualization of the vocal structures to increase information about voice deficits.

With the new fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) equipment, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) with NMMC’s Acute Care Rehabilitation team can perform instrumental swallow studies in some patients’ hospital rooms. Before, all patients who required instrumental studies had to be taken to the Radiology Department for a modified barium swallow test, which was not an option for patients unable to transfer or sit up for the test.

SLPs Abby Chism, Ann Bryan, Jamie Elliot, Keri Alexander and Cobern Smith completed 50 hours of FEES training between Feb. 26 and March 2. Training was provided by Colette Ellis of SEC Medical Speech Pathology, who has 40 years of experience in the field. 

During the test, the SLP passes a thin, flexible instrument called an endoscope through the person’s nose and then views parts of his throat as he voices and swallows. The endoscope, which has a tiny camera and light attached to it, allows the SLP to see parts of the person’s larynx, pharynx and trachea on a video screen.

The FEES test has three parts. During the first phase, the SLP observes the patient’s velopharyngeal and laryngeal physiology. During the second phase, the SLP watches how well the person swallows saliva before any food is introduced. During the third phase, swallowing is assessed with different textures and amounts of food and liquid.

FEES testing is also offered at NMMC’s Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at Longtown Medical Park and at NMMC-Pontotoc. For more information about FEES and other rehabilitation services, visit or call 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).

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