Authors: Athukorala RP, Jones RD, Sella O, Huckabee M-L
Title: Skill Training for Swallowing Rehabilitation in Patients With Parkinson’s Disease
Source: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2014 95(7): 1374-1382
Year: 2014
Research Design: Case Series

Objective: To examine the effects of skill training on swallowing in individuals with dysphagia secondary to Parkinson's disease (PD) and to explore skill retention after treatment termination. Design: Within-subject pilot study with follow-up after 2 weeks of treatment and after a 2-week nontreatment period. Setting: Clinic in a research institute. Participants: Patients (N=10; mean age, 67.4y) included 3 women (mean Hoehn and Yahr score, 2.6) and 7 men (mean Hoehn and Yahr score, 2.4). Intervention: Patients underwent 10 daily sessions of skill training therapy focused on increasing precision in muscle contraction during swallowing using visual feedback. Main Outcome Measures: Data from the timed water swallow test, Test of Mastication and Swallowing Solids, surface electromyography (sEMG) of submental muscles, and swallowing-related quality of life questionnaire were collected at 2 baseline sessions (conducted 2wk apart) at the end of treatment and after 2 nontreatment weeks to assess skill retention. Results: Immediately after posttreatment, the swallowing rate for liquids (P=.034), sEMG durational parameters of premotor time (P=.003), and preswallow time (P<.001) improved. A functional carryover effect was seen from dry to water swallows (P=.009). Additionally, swallowing-related quality of life improved (P=.018). Reassessment at 2 weeks after treatment termination revealed short-term retention of treatment effects. Conclusions: A skill-based training approach produced functional, biomechanical, and swallowing-related quality of life improvements in this cohort indicating compelling evidence for the effectiveness of this novel approach for dysphagia rehabilitation in PD.

Access: Paywall