Guidelines of clinical practice for the management of swallowing disorders and recent dysphonia in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2020 May;137(3):173-175. doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2020.04.011. Epub 2020 Apr 20.


Procedures putting healthcare workers in close contact with the airway are particularly at risk of contamination by the SARS-Cov-2 virus, especially when exposed to sputum, coughing, or a tracheostomy. In the current pandemic phase, all patients should be considered as potentially infected. Thus, the level of precaution recommended for the caregivers depends more on the type of procedure than on the patient's proved or suspected COVID-19 status. Procedures that are particularly at high risk of contamination are clinical and flexible endoscopic pharyngo-laryngological evaluation, and probably also video fluoroscopic swallowing exams. Voice rehabilitation should not be considered urgent at this time. Therefore, recommendations presented here mainly concern the management of swallowing disorders, which can sometimes be dangerous for the patient, and recent dysphonia. In cases where they are considered possible and useful, teleconsultations should be preferred to face-to-face assessments or rehabilitation sessions. The latter must be maintained only in few selected situations, after team discussions or in accordance with the guidelines provided by health authorities.

Keywords: COVID; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Laryngology; Phoniatrics; Rehabilitation; SARS-CoV-2; Swallowing.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy*
  • Deglutition Disorders / virology
  • Dysphonia / diagnosis
  • Dysphonia / therapy*
  • Dysphonia / virology
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Infection Control / standards
  • Otolaryngology / methods*
  • Otolaryngology / standards*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2