Surface electrical stimulation in dysphagic parkinson patients: A randomized clinical trial

Baijens LW, Speyer R, Passos VL, Pilz W, van der Kruis J, Haarmans S, Desjardins-Rombouts C.

Laryngoscope. 2013 Apr 17.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS:

A new treatment for oropharyngeal dysphagia in Parkinson’s disease was evaluated in the present study.

STUDY DESIGN:

Prospective randomized controlled trial.

METHODS:

The study describes the effects of surface electrical stimulation (SES) of the neck (submental region) in dysphagic Parkinson patients using different intensities of electrical current. Quasi-random allocation was performed when assigning patients to treatment groups. Three groups consisting of dysphagic patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (N = 90) received daily treatment for 15 days with periods of no treatment during the weekend. All three received traditional logopedic dysphagia treatment. In addition, two groups received SES, either motor-level or sensory-level stimulation. A standardized measurement protocol, including fiber optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) and videofluoroscopy of swallowing (VFS), was performed before and after therapy. A team of experienced raters was blinded to the treatment group and to the moment of measurement. Intrarater and interrater reliability were calculated.

RESULTS:

Using proportional odds models (POMs), some of the visuoperceptual ordinal outcome variables showed significant improvement in all groups following treatment. Following 15 days of SES of the submental region, few significant effects were found, suggesting a therapy effect of traditional logopedic dysphagia treatment without any additional influence of SES.

CONCLUSIONS:

On the grounds of this study, it is concluded that further research is needed on the exact mechanism of SES and its effects on the neural pathways involved in swallowing.

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