Q. Why is a vascular dementia patient having choking?

Answered by
Dr. Ashaq Hussain Parrey
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Jun 14, 2018

Hello doctor,

My 89-year-old husband is on Coumadin, no other medications. He has vascular dementia. I took him off all antipsychotic drugs a year ago and he is no longer aggressive. A few weeks ago he began choking. I took him to the ER. They diagnosed acid reflux. I disagreed as he does not have the usual symptoms and I do. He continues to choke a few times a week complaining about something stuck deep down in his esophagus. He tries to cough it up and then says it is clear again. An appointment with a ENT is months away. What can this be? I would greatly appreciate an opinion. He is in failing health due to age-related medical problems. He never smokes, never drank. His appetite is good and blood pressure acceptable, no fever.

Dr. Ashaq Hussain Parrey

General Medicine Internal Medicine Rheumatology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I went through your post. Well, choking is one of the leading causes of death in elderly with age more than 75 and causes are usually food related like too spicy for age, hard food or hot food abs sometimes aerated drinks. The condition is aggravated by what is called contribution from Parkinson's disease. A proper food eating technique and avoiding certain foods will help. In addition, an endoscopy with an occasional need to esophageal manometry will help to establish the diagnosis.

For more information consult an internal medicine physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/internal-medicine-physician

Thank you doctor,

He does not eat spicy food ever and absolutely no carbonated beverages. He eats very healthy and has not changed his eating habits over the years. The choking episodes happen at quiet intervals and strangely, not while eating. I will try to get an appointment with an ENT doctor as soon as possible.

Dr. Ashaq Hussain Parrey

General Medicine Internal Medicine Rheumatology


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Yes, an appointment with ENT to look for any physical abnormality in the throat and for time being will need a diet as advised and ENT will help him few throat exercises which will prevent choking.

For more information consult an internal medicine physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/internal-medicine-physician

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