Authors: Baudelet M, Duprez F, Van den Steen L, Nuyts S, Nevens D, Goeleven A, Vandenbruaene C, Massonet H, Vergauwen A, Bollen H, Deschuymer S, Wouters K, Peeters M, Van Laer C, Mariën S, Van den Brekel M, van der Molen L, Vauterin T, van Dinther J, Verstraete H, Hutsebaut I, Meersschout S, Vanderveken O, De Bodt M, Van Nuffelen G, members of the Belgian PRESTO-group
Title: Increasing Adherence to Prophylactic Swallowing Exercises During Head and Neck Radiotherapy: The Multicenter, Randomized Controlled PRESTO-Trial
Source: Dysphagia 2023 38(3): 886-895
Year: 2023
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
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Background: Prophylactic swallowing exercises (PSE) during radiotherapy can significantly reduce dysphagia after radiotherapy in head and neck cancer (HNC). However, its positive effects are hampered by low adherence rates during the burdensome therapy period. Hence, the main goal of this multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to investigate the effect of 3 different service-delivery modes on actual patients' adherence. Method(s): A total of 148 oropharyngeal cancer patients treated with primary (chemo)radiotherapy were randomly assigned to a 4 weeks PSE program, either diary-supported (paper group; n = 49), app-supported (app group; n = 49) or therapist-supported (therapist group; n = 50). Participants practiced 5 days/week, daily alternating tongue strengthening exercises with chin tuck against resistance exercises. Adherence was measured as the percentage of completed exercise repetitions per week (%reps). Statistical analysis was performed by means of SPSSv27, using Linear Mixed-effects Models with post hoc pairwise testing and Bonferroni-Holm correction. Result(s): Adherence and evolution of adherence over time was significantly different between the three groups (p <.001). Adherence rates decreased in all three groups during the 4 training weeks (p <.001). During all 4 weeks, the therapist group achieved the highest adherence rates, whilst the app group showed the lowest adherence rates. Conclusion(s): PSE adherence decreased during the first 4 radiotherapy weeks regardless of group, but with a significant difference between groups. The therapist group achieved the highest adherence rates with a rather limited decline, therefore, increasing the face-to-face contact with a speech-language therapist can overcome the well-known problem of low adherence to PSE in this population.

Access: Open Access