J Korean Acad Rehabil Med.  2011 Apr;35(2):195-200.

The Effects of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation on Swallowing Function in Healthy Older Adults

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Cheonan 330-721, Korea. shouletz@naver.com
  • 2Occupational Therapy Section, Soonchunhyang University Cheonan Hospital, Cheonan 330-721, Korea.

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
To evaluate the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on the swallowing function in healthy older adults without clinical dysphagia. METHOD: The subjects were 18 healthy older adults aged >70 years and 10 young adults aged <30 years without symptoms or a history of dysphagia. Both groups were evaluated by the functional dysphagia scale (FDS) and pharyngeal transit time (PTT), using a videofluoroscopic swallowing study with semisolid material. Only the healthy older adults group received neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) on suprahyoid and infrahyoid muscles, 60 min/day, 5 days/wk, for 2 weeks. The healthy older adults group was then re-evaluated by FDS and PTT.
RESULTS
The average PTT in young adults was lower than in healthy older adults. FDS of the oral phase was larger in the older adults than in the young adults. After NMES for 2 weeks in older adults, there was a significant improvement in the averages for PTT and FDS.
CONCLUSION
The results of this study showed that healthy older adults without clinical dysphagia had decreased swallowing function when they were compared with young adults. After NMES, the swallowing function, evaluated by FDS and PTT, was improved in healthy older adults.

Keyword

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation; Swallowing; Pharyngeal transit time

MeSH Terms

Adult
Aged
Deglutition
Deglutition Disorders
Electric Stimulation
Humans
Muscles
Young Adult
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