Awareness of dysphagia in Parkinson’s disease

Bayés-Rusiñol À; Forjaz MJ; Ayala A; Crespo Mde L; Prats A; Valles E; Petit C; Casanovas M; Garolera-Freixa M

Rev Neurol;53(11):664-72, 2011 Dec 1.

INTRODUCTION AND AIM: In order to be able to assess the level of awareness of swallowing disorders in Parkinson’s disease (PD), a specific questionnaire was designed and validated: the Dysphapark questionnaire. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 470 persons with PD were asked whether they believe they have problems swallowing or not, and then they filled in a self-administered questionnaire that evaluates the effectiveness and safety of swallowing. The Dysphapark questionnaire was validated by means of Rasch analysis and classical psychometric methods. RESULTS: The safety and effectiveness dimensions of the Dysphapark fit the Rasch model well. The efficacy dimension showed significant differences for gender, length of the illness, awareness of dysphagia and length of meals. Significant differences were also found in the safety dimension for length and severity of illness, awareness of dysphagia, speech therapy and knowledge of thickening agents. Despite the fact that 90% of patients had problems concerning effectiveness and safety in swallowing, 79.45% were not aware that they suffered from dysphagia. CONCLUSIONS: The Dysphapark questionnaire is a suitable measure of dysphagia in PD, according to the Rasch analysis. A high proportion of patients with PD have dysphagia, although it has been observed that they have a low level of awareness of the condition, of the consequences it may have and of the possibility of using thickening agents. Given that some of the swallowing disorders in PD are asymptomatic and that the level of awareness of the disorder is low, we recommend including specific questionnaires as well as clinical and instrumental evaluation of dysphagia in clinical practice.

 

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