Functional Benefits of Dysphagia Therapy Using Adjunctive sEMG Biofeedback
This article describes a retrospective analysis of functional outcome, time in therapy, and cost per unit of functional change in patients who received therapy for pharyngeal dysphagia. Twenty-five patients presenting dysphagia following stroke and 20 patients with dysphagia following treatment for head/neck cancer completed a systematic therapy program supplemented with surface electromyographic (sEMG) biofeedback. Eighty-seven percent (39/45) of all patients increased their functional oral intake of food/liquid including 92% of stroke patients and 80% of head/neck cancer patients. Patients with dysphagia following stroke demonstrated greater improvement than those in the head/neck cancer group. Patients in the stroke group completed more therapy sessions thus increasing the total cost of therapy, but they made more functional progress resulting in lower costs per unit of functional change than patients in the head/neck cancer group. Limitations of this study are described in reference to implications for future clinical research on the efficacy of this therapy approach.
KeywordsDysphagia Swallowing Therapy sEMG Biofeedback Stroke Head/neck cancer Deglutition Deglutition disorders
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