Dysphagia Prevalence, Attitudes, and Related Quality of Life in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
Dysphagia in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with significant morbidity and has profound impact on the quality of life (QoL). This study aimed to analyze the dysphagia prevalence, attitudes, and dysphagia-related QoL in patients with MS, not at relapse. A prospective study of 108 consecutively recruited patients. The patients were asked to report dysphagia and completed a general dysphagia questionnaire (the Eating Assessment Tool-10, EAT-10), a disease-specific dysphagia questionnaire (the Dysphagia in Multiple Sclerosis, DYMUS), and a dysphagia-related QoL questionnaire (the Swallowing-Quality of Life). Twenty-six percent of the patients reported dysphagia. Many more were classified as dysphagic by the questionnaires (34.3% by EAT-10 and 44.4% by DYMUS). Overall, one out of four patients reported difficulties or choking while drinking fluids and eating food, cough related to eating, food sticking in the throat, need for food and drink segmentation, and repetitive swallows. The pleasure of eating was found to be moderately affected. The patients seem to cope well with the psychological and social impact of dysphagia. Serious consideration must be given to patients’ perceptions and attitudes towards dysphagia. Our patients reported very little fear associated with their swallowing difficulties and choking. Apparently, they do not perceive the severity of their symptoms as an actual danger, as they have developed coping strategies. Dysphagia is common in MS patients not at relapse, even with mild disease-related impairment. Swallowing should be systematically assessed with validated questionnaires in all patients with MS at the course of the disease.
KeywordsDysphagia Multiple sclerosis Deglutition Deglutition disorders Quality of life Attitudes
This research received no grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors Athanasia Printza, MD, MSc, PhD; Stefanos Triaridis, MD, MSc, PhD; Maria Kalaitzi, MSc; Ioannis Nikolaidis, MD, PhD; Christos Bakirtzis, MD, PhD; Jannis Constantinidis, MD, PhD; and Nikolaos Grigoriadis, MD, PhD declare that there is no conflict of interest related to this paper.
This study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments and had Institutional review Board approval.
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