Ongoing impacts of the development of an electrical stimulation treatment for dysphasia (Phagenyx by UoM Spinout Phagenesis)

Impact: Health and wellbeing, Economic


Neurogenic dysphasia is a difficulty in swallowing/inability to swallow safely due to a disruption of neurological systems/processes. It is a dangerous symptom of many neurological diseases such as stroke and traumatic brain injury and a common adverse effect in patients who have had a tracheotomy (incision in the windpipe). It increases the risk of complications and delays recovery. It means patients often need to be fed through a tube and increases the time they spend in hospital. Quality of life is negatively affected.

Phagenyx, developed by Phagenesis Ltd (a University of Manchester Spin out company) uses pharyngeal electrical stimulation (PES) to treat the cause of dysphasia. It delivers electrical stimulation to the pharynx (an area of the throat) and by stimulating areas of the brain involved in swallowing, improves swallowing function.

In January 2020 Phagenyx was granted Breakthrough device designation in the US based on our research.

In Febraury 2020, the German Society for Neurology recommended (PES) to treat dysphagia in tracheotomy stroke patients, citing our research in the PHAST-TRAC trial.

In November 2020, our research as part of the PHADER trial which took place across 14 centres in the UK, Germany and Austria showed that using Phagenyx in patients with neurogenic dysphagia due to stoke and traumatic brain injury benefitted patient. Patients were able to swallow more safely, have a larger oral diet, remove feeding tubes and be discharged from hospital earlier.

In April 2021, scientists in Austria reported successful use of Phagenyx PES treatment to restore safe swallowing in a patient critically ill with Covid-19.
Impact date1 Aug 2013
Category of impactHealth and wellbeing, Economic
Impact levelBenefit