Swallowing after non-surgical treatment (radiation therapy / radiochemotherapy protocol) of laryngeal cancer

PORTAS, Juliana et al.

Braz. j. otorhinolaryngol. (Impr.) [online]. 2011, vol.77, n.1, pp. 96-101.

Radiation therapy and radiochemotherapy protocols can cause swallowing difficulties. AIM: To evaluate swallowing in patients undergoing radiation therapy and radiochemotherapy protocol only for the treatment of laryngeal tumors. METHODS: A prospective study of 20 patients, with a mean age of 62 years, at the end of oncological therapy. Six patients (30%) underwent radiation therapy, and 14 patients (70%) underwent combined therapy. The mean time between treatment and an evaluation of swallowing was 8.5 months. Videofluoroscopy was done to assess the preparatory, oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing. RESULTS: All patients had only an oral diet. Normal swallowing was present in only 25% of patients. The swallowing videofluoroscopic examination identified the following changes: bolus formation (85%), bolus ejection (60%), oral cavity stasis (55%), changes in the onset of the pharyngeal phase (100%), decreased laryngeal elevation (65%), and hypopharyngeal stasis (80%). Laryngeal penetration was observed in 25% of the cases; 40% presented tracheal aspiration. The grade of penetration/aspiration was mild in 60% of cases. Aspiration was silent in 35% of patients. Although 75% of patients had dysphagia, only 25% complained of swallowing difficulties. CONCLUSION: Patients with laryngeal cancer that underwent radiation therapy/combined treatment can present changes in all swallowing phases, or may be asymptomatic.

Palavras-chave : deglutition disorders laryngeal neoplasms; radiotherapy; combined modality therapy.

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