Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for rehabilitation of poststroke dysphagia: A randomized, double-blind clinical trial

Du J, Yang F, Liu L, Hu J, Cai B, Liu W, Xu G, Liu X.

Clin Neurophysiol. 2016 Mar;127(3):1907-13. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2015.11.045. Epub 2015 Dec 11.



This randomized, sham-controlled, double-blind study was conducted to investigate the effects of high-frequency versus low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on patients with poststroke dysphagia during early rehabilitation.


Forty patients with poststroke dysphagia were randomized to receive five daily sessions of sham, 3-Hz ipsilesional, or 1-Hz contralesional rTMS. Swallowing function, the severity of stroke and functional disability, and cortical excitability were examined before, immediately after five daily sessions, as well as the first, second, and third month after the last session.


At baseline, no significant differences between groups were observed in terms of demographic and clinical rating scales. However, a significantly greater improvement in swallowing function as well as functional disability was observed after real rTMS when compared with sham rTMS, which remained 3months after the end of the treatment sessions. In addition, 1-Hz rTMS increased cortical excitability of the affected hemisphere and decreased that of the non-affected hemisphere; however, 3-Hz rTMS only increased cortical excitability of the affected hemisphere.


rTMS (both high and low frequency) improved swallowing recovery in patients with poststroke dysphagia, and the effects lasted for at least 3months.


rTMS appears to be a beneficial therapeutic modality for patients with dysphagia during the early phase of stroke.



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