BACKGROUND: Oropharyngeal dysphagia is a common problem in subacute stroke patients leading to aspiration pneumonia and malnutrition. Non-invasive neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) coupled with traditional therapy could be best treatment option for patients with post-stroke dysphagia, however results are still inconclusive and more studies are requested. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of laryngopharyngeal neuromuscular electrical stimulation on dysphagia caused by stroke. METHODS: Thirty-three patients affected by subacute stroke and dysphagia participated in this study. The subjects were divided into NMES plus traditional dysphagia training (n = 17) and traditional dysphagia training alone in a time matched condition (n = 16). Both groups were treated 5 days/week for 8 weeks. All patients were evaluated before and after the treatment. The study was designed as a single blind randomized controlled trial. Primary outcomes were considered the status of swallowing function according to the Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS), the instrumental Fiberoptic Endoscopic Examination of Swallowing examination, the Penetration Aspiration Scale and the Pooling score and the presence of oropharyngeal secretion. Secondary outcomes were the type of diet taken by mouth; the need for postural compensations and the duration of the dysphagia training. RESULTS: A functional improvement was observed in both groups but treatment group showed a significant improvement for primary outcome with the exception of the pooling Score (p = 0.015, p = 0.203; p = 0.003; p = 0.048 respectively) and for secondary outcome p <0.005. The results confirm that laryngopharyngeal neuromuscular electrical stimulation in post-stroke patients with dysphonia improve outcome of the training. CONCLUSIONS: Laryngopharyngeal neuromuscular electrical stimulation may be considered as an additional and effective treatment option for dysphagia after stroke.
- fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing
- neuromuscular electrical stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology