KOCHI / October 27, 2023: Amrita Hospital in Kochi announces the launch of a revolutionary mobile application "SWALLO," first time in India, designed to support individuals suffering from swallowing disorders (dysphagia).
The app was officially unveiled at the ongoing global conference called Dysphagia 2023 at the hospital. It offers interactive video-based therapy sessions with medical experts, allowing patients easy access to therapeutic interventions without the need for daily hospital visits. In the first phase, SWALLO will be accessible to patients of Amrita Hospital. A subsequent public release will be available on the app stores. The application also features live interactive sessions with the doctor on appointment. This is available in Malayalam with English subtitle and eventually for all Indian Languages.
Dysphagia is a challenging condition affecting the ability to swallow food and fluids across any age group. It is often caused by congenital or acquired diseases in children as well as cancer or neurological diseases in adults.
A deglutologist leads a team of experts from the fields of Head and Neck Surgery, Pediatrics, Oncology, Neurology, Geriatrics, and Nutrition and Diet for identification and treatment of swallowing and feeding disorders. Dysphagia can be caused by various factors, including neurological conditions, structural abnormalities, post-surgical complications, and age-related changes. It can also be underdiagnosed, especially in older adults who may attribute swallowing difficulties to the aging process or other health issues. The treatment depends on the underlying cause and may include dietary modifications, swallowing exercises, medications, or surgical interventions.
Said Dr. Subramania Iyer, renowned plastic surgeon and chairman of the Amrita Swallow Centre, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, who is currently training the tenth batch of deglutology trainees at Amrita Medical College: “While healthcare professionals traditionally provide tips for dysphagia recovery, many patients remain unaware of the benefits of therapy under professional supervision, leading to hindered recuperation. This groundbreaking app aims to enhance the lives of those living with dysphagia by providing valuable support and guidance by medical experts. SWALLO comes at a crucial time, as Amrita Swallow Center has already provided support to over 3,000 dysphagia patients in 2023 alone. Amrita Hospital employs specialized therapy techniques along with fluoroscopy and endoscopy analysis to address swallowing issues."
Dr. Maneesha Vinodini Ramesh, Provost and Director of AMRITA Center for Wireless Networks & Applications at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, highlights how SWALLO is a game-changer for dysphagia patients, offering the necessary support to enhance their quality of life. "Our highly experienced interdisciplinary software and AI team took on the challenge of addressing the difficulties faced by patients as briefed by our doctors at Amrita Hospital. SWALLO app enables patients to follow personalized rehab steps on their smartphones from home, receiving live feedback on exercise compliance and performance scores through its integrated AI system,’’ she said.
Exercising at home may not always be effective, and frequent hospital visits are often impractical for patients with swallowing difficulties. The SWALLO app facilitates remote monitoring by therapists, ensuring effective guidance for dysphagia management. It addresses various causes, including cancer treatments and neurological issues, while also emphasizing the vital role of nutrition in improving swallowing.
The user-friendly SWALLO app was developed by the Amrita University team, which includes Dr. Maneesha Vinodini Ramesh, Provost and Director of AMRITA Center for Wireless Networks & Applications, Ramesh Guntha, Research Associate, and Dr. Rahul Krishnan, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Center for Wireless Networks & Applications (WNA) at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham with the clinical team comprising Dr. Subrahmanian Iyer, Chairman, Amrita Swallow Centre Head and Neck surgical oncology, Dr. Krishnakuanr Thankappan, HOD ,Head and Neck surgical oncology and Arya CJ, Chief deglutologist, Amrita swallow Centre at Amrita Hospital, Kochi
As part of its commitment to unlocking the mysteries of dysphagia in oncology, pediatrics, and neurology disorders, Amrita Hospital is hosting a four-day international conference called "Dysphagia 2023." The event is being organized in collaboration with the Amrita Swallow Centre under the Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology Department of Amrita Hospital. It is the only center in India where speech-language pathology graduates are trained under a structured training program with a university degree to become deglutologists. Founded a decade ago by Prof. Subramania Iyer and Prof. Jayakumar Menon, the Amrita Swallow Centre has produced more than 20 deglutology experts now serving various parts of the world.
Dysphagia 2023 has brought together experts and trainees from a wide range of medical disciplines, including Head and Neck Surgery, Pediatrics, Physiotherapy, Oncology, Geriatrics, Nutrition and Diet, Respiratory and Pulmonology, Intensive Care Teams, Psychology, Otolaryngology, Pharmacology, Nursing, Neuro/Neurosurgery, Speech Language Pathology, Gastroenterology, and Occupational Therapy. Distinguished international and national faculty members are leading workshops on Video Fluoroscopy Swallowing Study (VFSS) and the Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES).
ABOUT AMRITA HOSPITAL, KOCHI (www.amritahospitals.org)
Amrita Hospital, Kochi (Amrita Hospital), based in Kochi, is one of the premier hospitals in South Asia. Founded in 1998 by Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (known worldwide as Amma), it offers a full range of primary and specialty-care medical services. Amma’s vision of providing advanced medical care to the poor and disadvantaged was the inspiration for Amrita Hospital, which today is a 1,300-bed (490 units) tertiary referral and teaching hospital, serving more than 8 lakh outpatients and more than 50,000 inpatients annually.
The massive healthcare infrastructure with over 3.33 million sq.ft. of built-up area, spread over 125 acres of land, supports a daily patient volume of approximately 3,500 outpatients with 95 percent inpatient occupancy. There are 12 super-specialty departments, 45 other departments, 4,500 support staff and 670 faculty members. The hospital’s extensive infrastructure offers facilities comprising 28 modern operating theatres, 275 equipped intensive-care beds, a fully computerised and networked Hospital Information System (HIS), a fully digital radiology department, 17 NABL-accredited clinical laboratories, and 24/7 telemedicine service.
In 2015, South Asia's first-ever Bilateral Hand Transplant Surgery was done at Amrita Hospital. The same year, Amrita Hospital won the British Medical Journal Award for the Best Surgical Team in South Asia. The Amrita team won the award for its two successful double hand transplants, the first and the second bilateral hand transplants in this region.