Authors: Choy J, Pourkazemi F, Anderson C, Bogaardt H
Title: Dosages of swallowing exercises in stroke rehabilitation: a systematic review
Source: European Archives of Oto Rhino Laryngology 2023 280(3): 1017-1045
Year: 2023
Research Design: Systematic Review

Purpose: To investigate the dosages of swallowing exercises reported in intervention studies on post-stroke dysphagia through systematic review. Method(s): Five electronic databases were searched from inception until February 2022 with reference tracing of included studies. Studies were included, where adults with post-stroke dysphagia received rehabilitative, behavioural swallowing exercises, pre/post outcomes were reported, and intervention dosage was described in detail, including frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise. Two reviewers independently screened studies and rated quality using ASHA Levels of Evidence tool. Data was tabulated and narratively described. Result(s): 54 studies were included with a total 1501 participants. Studies included 28 randomised controlled trials, 8 non-randomised controlled trials, 12 pre/post studies, 3 retrospective case controls and 3 case studies. Results showed inconsistent reporting of intervention dosage, with intensity the least consistently reported dosage component. While swallowing intervention was most commonly provided five times per week for four weeks, there was a wide breadth of type, frequency, intensity and duration of swallowing exercises reported. Dosage under-reporting and variation was particularly observed in "standard care" co-interventions or control groups. Study strengths included following PRISMA guidelines, providing a comprehensive review of swallowing exercise methodology and dosages, and including non-English studies. The limitation was lack of meta-analysis due to the heterogeneity of included studies. Conclusion(s): Dosages of swallowing exercises are inconsistently reported and vary significantly in post-stroke dysphagia studies. Results indicate the need for consistent and comprehensive dosage reporting in dysphagia studies, and for further research into evidence-based principles to optimise swallowing exercise dosages. Systematic review registration number: 131294.

Access: Open Access