J Korean Dysphagia Soc.  2018 Jul;8(2):87-94. 10.0000/jkdps.2018.8.2.87.

Nutritional Support for Patients with Radiation-induced Dysphagia

  • 1Department of Clinical Dietetics, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. sophiajym@hanmail.net


Radiation therapy is a common and effective treatment for various types of head and neck cancers. On the other hand, it usually leads to radiation therapy-induced dysphagia, which manifests as symptoms of obstruction or difficulty in swallowing. Dysphagia may cause several clinical problems, including depression and anxiety disorder, which can degrade a patient's quality of life (QOL). Furthermore, dysphagia may result in malnutrition, dehydration and weight loss, and eventually accelerate the disease. Therefore, it is important to identify the options for measurement and monitoring the nutritional status of dysphagia patients and determine clinically feasible interventions for nutritional supplement. A careful review of the literature provided several important implications. A nasogastric (NG) tube and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) are useful options for providing nutritional supplement. In addition, continuous monitoring should be given to patients undergoing enteral nutritional support to check the degree to which nutrition supply, aspiration pneumonia or intrinsic enteral nutrition is supplemented. Several special forms of dysphagia diets may also serve as well-balanced nutrition care. Dysphagia patients may be provided with oral nutrition supplement (ONS), including intensified nutritional element, coupled with their preference for tastes and types of viscosity texture.


Dysphagia; Radiation; Malnutrition; Nutritional support
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