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Rev Neurol. 2004 Oct 16-31;39(8):707-10.

[Oropharyngeal dysphagia in patients with multiple sclerosis].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad de Daño Cerebral, Institut Guttmann, Hospital de Rehabilitació, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain.



The aim of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of the clinical and videofluoroscopic (VDF) symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia in patients with multiple sclerosis, and to describe its therapeutic management.


We studied 23 patients suffering from multiple sclerosis to evaluate the characteristics of the disease, the VDF exploration of swallowing and therapeutic strategies. The VDF exploration enables us to define the VDF symptoms that assess the safety and efficiency of swallowing for the oral and pharyngeal phases. The therapeutic strategies include: changes in the characteristics of the diet, changes of posture and active manoeuvres.


The patients studied presented a mean EDSS score 7.4 (4-9). There were alterations in swallowing efficiency and/or safety in more than 80% of the patients. In 52% there was some change in the swallowing safety. 40% of them were silent aspirators. All these patients were fed orally without any complications, in 78% the volume of the bolus has been modified and changes have taken place in the consistency (thickening for liquids); in 43%, moreover, postural strategies were employed and active manoeuvres (supraglottic swallow) were introduced in 13% in order to improve swallowing safety.


There is a high prevalence of clinical and VDF symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia in patients with advanced multiple sclerosis. VDF enables us to diagnose the pathophysiological mechanism of aspiration and the existence of silent aspirators, and helps us to introduce specific therapeutic interventions for each patient, thereby achieving safe and efficient swallowing, while prolonging oral feeding.

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