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Dysphagia

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 90–103 | Cite as

Electromyography and Mechanomyography Signals During Swallowing in Healthy Adults and Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

  • Gabriela Constantinescu
  • William Hodgetts
  • Dylan Scott
  • Kristina Kuffel
  • Ben King
  • Chris Brodt
  • Jana RiegerEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Surface electromyography (sEMG) is used as an adjuvant to dysphagia therapy to demonstrate the activity of submental muscles during swallowing exercises. Mechanomyography (MMG) has been suggested as a potential superior alternative to sEMG; however, this advantage is not confirmed for signal acquired from submental muscles. This study compared the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) obtained from sEMG and MMG sensors during swallowing tasks, in healthy participants and those with a history of head and neck cancer (HNC), a population with altered anatomy and a high incidence of dysphagia. Twenty-two healthy adults and 10 adults with a history of HNC participated in this study. sEMG and MMG signals were acquired during dry, thin liquid, effortful, and Mendelsohn maneuver swallows. SNR was compared between the two sensors using repeated measures ANOVAs and subsequent planned pairwise comparisons. Test–retest measures were collected on 20 % of participants. In healthy participants, MMG SNR was higher than that of sEMG for dry [t(21) = −3.02, p = 0.007] and thin liquid swallows [t(21) = −4.24, p < 0.001]. Although a significant difference for sensor was found in HNC participants F(1,9) = 5.54, p = 0.043, planned pairwise comparisons by task revealed no statistically significant difference between the two sensors. sEMG also showed much better test–retest reliability than MMG. Biofeedback provided as an adjuvant to dysphagia therapy in patients with HNC should employ sEMG technology, as this sensor type yielded better SNR and overall test–retest reliability. Poor MMG test–retest reliability was noted in both healthy and HNC participants and may have been related to differences in sensor application.

Keywords

Deglutition Deglutition disorders Visual biofeedback Electromyography Mechanomyography Head and neck cancer 

Notes

Funding

This work was supported by Alberta Cancer Foundation Transformative Program Grant (26355); Alberta Innovate – Health Solutions (AIHS) Clinician Fellowship (#201400350); Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and industrial and government partners, through the Healthcare Support through Information Technology Enhancements (hSITE) Strategic Research Network (22143).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors Gabriela Constantinescu, Dylan Scott, Ben King, and Jana Rieger are inventors listed on a patent for the mobile swallowing therapy device. The patent application was made through TEC Edmonton Office, University of Alberta (file number: 2014015. No commercial interest has been shown at this stage).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela Constantinescu
    • 1
    • 2
  • William Hodgetts
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dylan Scott
    • 1
  • Kristina Kuffel
    • 1
  • Ben King
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chris Brodt
    • 3
  • Jana Rieger
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Faculty of Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine (iRSM)Misericordia Community HospitalEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Industrial DesignUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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