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Arizona chef able to swallow again thanks to new therapy used to treat stroke patients at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix

Hospital is one of the first three facilities in the country using the Phagenyx™ Neurostimulation System

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PHOENIX (Aug. 15, 2023) – 55-year-old Michael John Coe of Prescott Valley never thought much about his ability to swallow until he was forced to re-learn this essential function after suffering three strokes recently. Coe, who works professionally as a chef and baker, was the second patient at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix to benefit from a new therapy called pharyngeal electrical stimulation, or PES, which is delivered via the Phagenyx Neurostimulation System. Phagenyx helps patients with dysphagia, a common condition following stroke, to regain their swallowing function and ability to eat and drink.

Phagenyx PES therapy works by utilizing a specialized catheter with built-in electrodes that provide small electrical pulses to stimulate critical sensory nerves within the throat (pharynx), shown to reestablish communication between these nerves and the brain. The treatment lasts for ten minutes per day for at least three and up to six days. The therapy is carried out by speech pathologists based on their assessment and is another important tool they use to help patients regain swallowing function.

Dr. Andrei Alexandrov, a vascular neurologist and chief of neurology at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, said patients like Coe are why this new treatment option is so important.

“This new therapy was not only crucial for Michael’s well-being, but for his career as a baker as well,” Dr. Alexandrov said. “The Phagenyx System allows us to offer much more efficient and effective care for these kinds of patients, resulting in better outcomes.” 

The system was recently approved by the FDA, and the hospital is one of the first three facilities in the country currently using the therapy, which was developed by Phagenesis, Ltd.

“Partnering with world class pioneers in stroke therapy like Dr. Alexandrov and the entire care team at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix is key to our strategy to expand Phagenyx therapy across the United States,” said Reinhard Krickl, CEO at Phagenesis. “We are honored to support Banner’s comprehensive stroke program, and we’re inspired to see outcomes like Michael’s. It’s why we do what we do.”

Coe was discharged after successfully completing five treatments and is back to eating normal foods again. His first meal? A grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

“I’m just blown away,” he said. “I feel back to normal psychologically — I’m not defeated, and I feel like I’m in control.”

To thank his medical team for the care he received, Coe recently returned to the hospital to deliver an abundance of his baked treats, along with a reminder that people should never take for granted their bodies’ critical functions like swallowing. 

About Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix

Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix is a large teaching hospital that has provided medical care to Arizona and the Southwest since 1911. It is part of Banner – University Medicine, a premier academic medical network. The institution, which has trained thousands of doctors over decades as a teaching hospital, is the academic medical center for The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. The hospital, recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s best hospitals, specializes in heart care, cancer care, high-risk obstetrics, neurosciences, organ transplants, medical toxicology and emergency care, including a Level I trauma center. Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health care system with 30 hospitals in six states. For more information, visit

About Phagenesis

Phagenesis® Ltd, is a private healthtech company offering an innovative treatment for neurogenic dysphagia using pharyngeal electrical stimulation, PES. The Phagenyx® Neurostimulation System is the result of years of rigorous scientific research, initiated by Professor Shaheen Hamdy from the University of Manchester, and has been featured in numerous clinical publications. For additional information, visit

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