What is VitalStim Therapy?

VitalStim Handheld Device with Custom ElectrodesVitalStim Handheld Device with Custom Electrodes
VitalStim® Therapy is a safe and effective treatment for patients suffering with difficulty swallowing or dysphagia. It was developed in response to the 15 million Americans living with dysphagia today.

The VitalStim® Therapy System is a non-invasive, external electrical stimulation therapy cleared to market by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for the treatment of dysphagia with application on the anterior neck.**. VitalStim® Therapy is backed by comprehensive clinical data. Click here to read clinical data.

The VitalStim® Therapy System is designed as an adjunct modality, meaning a clinician will apply VitalStim while simultaneously working with the patient on swallowing exercise. Used as an adjunct to traditional swallowing therapy, VitalStim has been found to:

  • Be safe and effective for patients 1
  • Accelerate the recovery time from a restricted diet 2
  • Help patients achieve sustained improvement and long term results 3

The lasting effect of VitalStim was demonstrated in a 3 year follow-up study submitted to the FDA that showed improved swallowing function was maintained. 3 Another published study demonstrated the lasting positive impact of VitalStim in a group of patients for whom previous attempts at dysphagia therapy had failed. 4

Read more about the VitalStim® Therapy System and dysphagia:


Download an informational brochure for patients with questions and answers about treating dysphagia with electrical stimulation.

Click here to to download the "When you can't swallow brochure"


Download a fact sheet about the VitalStim® Therapy System

Click here to download the “VitalStim Fact Sheet”


Read a summary of the latest research to date about NMES and dysphagia

Click here to read more about the latest research

** The use of NMES is contraindicated over an active neoplasm or over the carotid sinuses. NMES should be used with caution with patients who have implantable electronic devices such as cardiac demand pacemakers, deep brain stimulators, vagal nerve stimulators, a history of seizures, or implanted metal in the path of the electrical current.
  1. Carnaby-Mann GD, and Crary MA. Examining the evidence on neuromuscular electrical stimulation for swallowing: a meta-analysis. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 133: 564-571, 2007.
  2. Blumenfeld L, Hahn Y, Lepage A, Leonard R, and Belafsky PC. Transcutaneous electrical stimulation versus traditional dysphagia therapy: a nonconcurrent cohort study. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 135: 754-757, 2006.
  3. Freed ML. Clinical trial data in support of VitalStim 510(k) clearance application with FDA. 2001.
  4. Carnaby-Mann GD, and Crary MA. Adjunctive neuromuscular electrical stimulation for treatment-refractory dysphagia. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 117: 279-287, 2008.