Treatment of post-stroke dysphagia by vitalstim therapy coupled with conventional swallowing training

Xia W, Zheng C, Lei Q, Tang Z, Hua Q, Zhang Y, Zhu S.

J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2011 Feb;31(1):73-6. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

Abstract

To investigate the effects of VitalStim therapy coupled with conventional swallowing training on recovery of post-stroke dysphagia, a total of 120 patients with post-stroke dysphagia were randomly and evenly divided into three groups: conventional swallowing therapy group, VitalStim therapy group, and VitalStim therapy plus conventional swallowing therapy group. Prior to and after the treatment, signals of surface electromyography (sEMG) of swallowing muscles were detected, swallowing function was evaluated by using the Standardized Swallowing Assessment (SSA) and Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study (VFSS) tests, and swallowing-related quality of life (SWAL-QOL) was evaluated using the SWAL-QOL questionnaire. There were significant differences in sEMG value, SSA, VFSS, and SWAL-QOL scores in each group between prior to and after treatment. After 4-week treatment, sEMG value, SSA, VFSS and SWAL-QOL scores were significantly greater in the VitalStim therapy plus conventional swallowing training group than in the conventional swallowing training group and VitalStim therapy group, but no significant difference existed between conventional swallowing therapy group and VitalStim therapy group. It was concluded that VitalStim therapy coupled with conventional swallowing training was conducive to recovery of post-stroke dysphagia.

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