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Dysphagia

Difficulty swallowing.

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(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

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Evidence reviews

Dysphagia occurs frequently in Parkinson's disease although patients themselves may be unaware of swallowing difficulties. Speech and language therapists in conjunction with nurses and dietiticians use techniques that aim to improve swallowing and reduce the risk of choking and chest infections.

This review compared the benefits of swallowing therapy versus placebo (sham therapy) or no therapy for swallowing disorders in Parkinson's disease. Relevant trials were identified by electronic searches of 21 medical literature databases, various registers of clinical trials and an examination of the reference lists of identified studies and other reviews.

Acupuncture for dysphagia in acute stroke

Better designed clinical trials are needed to prove whether acupuncture is effective for treating swallowing difficulties in patients with stroke. Patients who have swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) as a result of their stroke are less likely to survive and be free of disability than stroke patients who can swallow normally. Acupuncture is commonly used to treat this complication in traditional Chinese medicine practice. We systematically reviewed currently available evidence for the use of acupuncture in treating swallowing difficulties after acute stroke. Only one small randomised controlled trial was identified, involving 66 participants, which did not provide clear evidence of benefit from adding acupuncture to standard Western medical treatment. Considering the small sample size and methodological imperfections, there is insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture. More research is needed.

Nutritional support for adults with swallowing difficulties

A number of conditions compromise the transport of food along the digestive tract. Patients with swallowing disturbances can develop low nutritional status, which affects their recovery from illness, surgery, and injury. Conditions associated with swallowing disorders include stroke, neurological diseases, dementia, cancers of the head and neck, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, physical obstruction, and dysphagia from stroke. Nasogastric tube feeding is a time proven technique to provide nutritional support; the tube can be inserted by a nurse. Percutaneous endoscopy gastrostomy (PEG) involves a feeding tube inserted directly into the stomach through the abdomen and is particularly useful when enteral nutrition is needed for a length of time.

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Summaries for consumers

Dysphagia occurs frequently in Parkinson's disease although patients themselves may be unaware of swallowing difficulties. Speech and language therapists in conjunction with nurses and dietiticians use techniques that aim to improve swallowing and reduce the risk of choking and chest infections.

This review compared the benefits of swallowing therapy versus placebo (sham therapy) or no therapy for swallowing disorders in Parkinson's disease. Relevant trials were identified by electronic searches of 21 medical literature databases, various registers of clinical trials and an examination of the reference lists of identified studies and other reviews.

Acupuncture for dysphagia in acute stroke

Better designed clinical trials are needed to prove whether acupuncture is effective for treating swallowing difficulties in patients with stroke. Patients who have swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) as a result of their stroke are less likely to survive and be free of disability than stroke patients who can swallow normally. Acupuncture is commonly used to treat this complication in traditional Chinese medicine practice. We systematically reviewed currently available evidence for the use of acupuncture in treating swallowing difficulties after acute stroke. Only one small randomised controlled trial was identified, involving 66 participants, which did not provide clear evidence of benefit from adding acupuncture to standard Western medical treatment. Considering the small sample size and methodological imperfections, there is insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture. More research is needed.

Nutritional support for adults with swallowing difficulties

A number of conditions compromise the transport of food along the digestive tract. Patients with swallowing disturbances can develop low nutritional status, which affects their recovery from illness, surgery, and injury. Conditions associated with swallowing disorders include stroke, neurological diseases, dementia, cancers of the head and neck, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, physical obstruction, and dysphagia from stroke. Nasogastric tube feeding is a time proven technique to provide nutritional support; the tube can be inserted by a nurse. Percutaneous endoscopy gastrostomy (PEG) involves a feeding tube inserted directly into the stomach through the abdomen and is particularly useful when enteral nutrition is needed for a length of time.

See all (24)

More about Dysphagia

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Dysphagic

Other terms to know:
Gastrointestinal Tract (GI Tract)

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