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Therapeutic effect of acupuncture combining standard swallowing training for post-stroke dysphagia: A prospective cohort study



To assess the therapeutic effect of acupuncture combining standard swallowing training for patients with dysphagia after stroke.


A total of 105 consecutively admitted patients with post-stroke dysphagia in the Affiliated Hospital of Gansu University of Chinese Medicine were included: 50 patients from the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation received standard swallowing training and acupuncture treatment (acupuncture group); 55 patients from the Department of Neurology received standard swallowing training only (control group). Participants in both groups received 5-day therapy per week for a 4-week period. The primary outcome measures included the scores of Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS) and the Standardized Swallowing Assessment (SSA); the secondary outcome measure was the Royal Brisbane Hospital Outcome Measure for Swallowing (RBHOMS), all of which were assessed before and after the 4-week treatment.


A total of 98 subjects completed the study (45 in the acupuncture group and 53 in the control group). Significant differences were seen in VFSS, SSA and RBHOMS scores in each group after 4-week treatment as compared with before treatment (P<0.01). Comparison between the groups after 4-week treatment showed that the VFSS P=0.007) and SSA scores (P=0.000) were more significantly improved in the acupuncture group than the control group. However, there was no statistical difference (P=0.710) between the acupuncture and the control groups in RBHOMS scores.


Acupuncture combined with the standard swallowing training was an effective therapy for post-stroke dysphagia, and acupuncture therapy is worth further investigation in the treatment of post-stroke dysphagia.

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Correspondence to Zhong-nan Mao.

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Supported by the Gansu Province Health Department of China (No. GZK-2014-47)

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Mao, Ly., Li, Ll., Mao, Zn. et al. Therapeutic effect of acupuncture combining standard swallowing training for post-stroke dysphagia: A prospective cohort study. Chin. J. Integr. Med. 22, 525–531 (2016).

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  • dysphagia
  • stroke
  • acupuncture
  • swallowing training