Transcutaneous electricalstimulation versus traditional dysphagia therapy: A nonconcurrent cohort study

L Blumenfeld, Y Hahn, A LePage, R Leonard, P Belafsky


The purpose of this investigation was to critically evaluate the efficacy of electrical stimulation (ES) in treating persons with dysphagia and aspiration.

Study design

Nonconcurrent cohort study.


The charts of 40 consecutive individuals undergoing ES and 40 consecutive persons undergoing traditional dysphagia therapy (TDT) were reviewed. Pre- and post-therapy treatment success was compared utilizing a previously described swallow severity scale. A linear regression analysis was employed to adjust for potential confounding variables.


The swallow severity scale improved from 0.50 to 1.48 in the TDT group (P < 0.05) and from 0.28 to 3.23 in the ES group (P < 0.001). After adjusting for potential confounding factors, persons receiving ES did significantly better in regard to improvement in their swallowing function than persons receiving TDT (P = 0.003).


The results of this nonconcurrent cohort study suggest that dysphagia therapy with transcutaneous electrical stimulation is superior to traditional dysphagia therapy alone in individuals in a long-term acute care facility.



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