In Euphagia Medical we are developing a non-invasive assistive device that uses evidence-based techniques to help patients swallow. Unlike other solutions for dysphagia, our solution aims at improving swallowing from day one.
We were interviewing a patient from the US and she explained to us that she was struggling with eating to the extent that a small thing like a cheese stick could take her up to an hour to finish. When we asked her what she was willing to do to improve her situation she immediately responded “ANYTHING!” She was extremely desperate as her situation had a huge impact on her quality of life.
We both have a passion for gastronomy and the ability to swallow food and drink is an indispensable act that healthy people enjoy and take for granted. However, 590 million people worldwide suffer from varying degrees of swallowing disorders, known as dysphagia. Many of which experience adverse events such as choking and malnourishment that can lead to aspiration pneumonia and in the worst case, death. Besides the aforementioned consequences we saw that it also has a big impact on the patients quality of life. The current solutions addressing this problem are either focusing on the status quo or long term rehabilitations. Thus highlighting that there was a pressing unmet need for a solution that would improve their situation from day one.
The underlying cause of dysphagia can come from various health conditions such as aging, cancer, parkinson’s, dementia and stroke. The most common solutions in the competitor landscape are 1) supplements, ways to modify the food and drink so that the patient can swallow it (e.g. thickening powders), 2) therapeutic solutions, strengthening or stimulating the muscles in order to gradually improve swallowing. Dysphagia has significant negative effects on patients’ health, quality of life and risk of death by aspiration pneumonia. In addition, it incurs significant economic costs for society. In Denmark alone, the additional costs of treating geriatric patients with dysphagia are estimated at 432 million DKK/year for municipalities, and 257 million DKK/year for hospitals.
The founding team consists of Elena Stefanac and Frederik Baungård Christiansen, who met as fellows on the BioMedical Design program in Denmark.