Dr. Shaheen Hamdy

Dr. Shaheen Hamdy, clinical academic at the University of Manchester and practising gastroenterologist, began to use brain imaging techniques to study the brain’s role in swallowing.

Dr. Hamdy wanted to understand why some people developed dysphagia following a stroke but others could swallow normally.

Dysphagia occurs in 30 to 78% of adult patients with an acute stroke and 40 to 81% of adult stroke patients entering rehabilitation read more.


Key discovery

Using brain imaging Dr. Hamdy and his group were the first to map the parts of the brain responsible for swallowing control and made a key discovery.

Both hemispheres of the brain are involved in swallowing control but one hemisphere is more dominant than the other.

The research showed that the dominant side varies from person to person and can only be identified by brain imaging read more.


How a stroke leads to dysphagia

Using brain imaging to show which parts of the brain were key to swallowing control, Dr. Hamdy investigated why some people developed dysphagia following stroke but others didn’t.

He found that the patient was likely to have dysphagia if the stroke happened on the side of the brain with dominance of control over swallowing.

If the stroke happened on the other side, the patient was unlikely to have swallowing problem read more.


Functional reorganisation

After finding that dysphagia after stroke is related to the hemisphere in which the stroke occurred the next stage in the research was to understand why some people recover from dysphagia after stroke and others do not.

In those who recover from dysphagia following a stroke, swallowing control was shown to be transferred to the undamaged side of the brain through functional reorganisation.

By contrast functional reorganisation was not seen in patients who did not recover their swallowing read more.


Stimulation proven to improve control

Pharyngeal Electrical Stimulation (PES), according to precise parameters, can induce cortical reorganization leading to improved swallow performance.

This research led to the discovery of a direct relationship between PES, cortical excitability and improvement in swallowing function read more.



Dr. Hamdy co-founded Phagenesis Limited as a spin out from the University of Manchester in 2007 with Dr. Conor Mulrooney.


Clinically proven treatment

A treatment regimen of 10 minutes stimulation, once a day over 3 days and adjusted to individual tolerance levels was found to be optimal.

A randomised controlled trial was conducted and proved that the treatment not only significantly improved swallowing and reduced the risk of aspiration, but patients in the treated group went home a median of 5 days sooner than those in the control (untreated) group read more.


Phagenyx® is launched

In July 2012, Phagenesis were granted a CE mark for Phagenyx® and the launch in October 2012 completed the journey that Dr. Shaheen Hamdy, now Professor of Neurogastroenterology, started more than two decades ago.

The launch marked the turning of his discoveries into practical medicine. Today we remain close to our roots through our base at Manchester Science Park, in the heart of Manchester’s knowledge economy.

Phagenyx® offers a unique opportunity to treat the cause of dysphagia by restoring neurological control of swallowing.


Possible positive results for chronic neurogenic dysphagic patients

An independent study demonstrated statistically significant benefit of pharyngeal electrical stimulation in patients with chronic dysphagia due to a neurodegenerative disease (multiple sclerosis) read more.

A pilot study showed beneficial cortical and clinical changes in stroke patients induced by pharyngeal electrical stimulation even after a substantial period of time has elapsed since the original injury read more.


Significant benefits for tracheotomized stroke patients

A single-centre, double blind, randomised controlled trial proved a 3.75 x higher likelihood to decannulate tracheotomized post-stroke patients with initially persistent severe dysphagia preventing decannulation read more.


Additional research for dysphagic stroke patients

A multi-centre multi country randomised clinical trial demonstrated positive results for dysphagic stroke patients, similar with the control group with no serious adverse events related to the device. The meta-analysis that included this study showed positive effect of pharyngeal electrical stimulation on radiological aspiration and clinical dysphagia read more.

Healthcare worker checking man's throat


Innovation continues with the launch of the Phagenyx® catheter improved version

We remain committed to transforming the lives of people with dysphagia by launching in 2017 our new improved version of the Phagenyx® catheter.

It is the result of our continuous work to facilitate the delivery of our treatment and to maintain the efficacy and safety of our device.

The key advantages of the new Phagenyx® catheter are safer insertion and placement of both treatment and feeding parts, better fixation of the catheter, fast and convenient solution in case of nastrogastric tube blocking.


Significant benefits and better outcomes for tracheotomized stroke patients with dysphagia

Multicentre randomised controlled trial results show strong evidence that Phagenyx treatment increases 5-fold the number of severely dysphagic tracheotomised stroke patients being ready for decannulation with no device related serious adverse events read more. It also:

  • Improves airway protection and swallowing function
  • Leads to 40% higher rates of decannulation and no recannulation (1st round of treatment)
  • Adds readiness for decannulation for 27% of initial non-responders (2nd round of treatment)
  • Reduces length of stay in hospital by 22 days for responders