Authors: Park HS, Oh DH, Yoon T, Park JS
Title: Effect of effortful swallowing training on tongue strength and oropharyngeal swallowing function in stroke patients with dysphagia: a double-blind, randomized controlled trial
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2019 54(3): 479-484
Year: 2019
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 07/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - Y
Baseline comparability - Y
Blind subjects - Y
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - N
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Background: Effortful swallowing training (EST) is a remedial method for the training of swallowing-related muscles in the oropharyngeal phase. However, clinical evidence of its effectiveness is insufficient. Aims: To investigate the effects of EST on tongue strength and swallowing function in patients with stroke. Methods & Procedures: Stroke patients with dysphagia were randomly assigned to one of two groups: an experimental group (n = 12) and a control group (n = 12). The experimental group underwent EST, while the control group performed saliva swallowing. Training was conducted 5 days per week for 4 weeks. Both groups underwent conventional dysphagia treatment for 30 min/day, 5 days/week for 4 weeks. Outcomes & Results: Tongue strength was assessed using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument. The Videofluoroscopic Dysphagia Scale (VDS), based on a videofluoroscopic swallowing study, was used to analyze oropharyngeal swallowing function. The experimental group showed greater improvements in anterior and posterior tongue strength compared with the control group (p = 0.046 and 0.042, respectively), and greater improvement in the oral phases of the VDS (p = 0.017). Conclusions & Implications: We recommend EST as a remedial strategy for improving tongue strength and oral swallowing function in patients with stroke.

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