J Korean Dysphagia Soc.  2018 Jul;8(2):103-109. 10.0000/jkdps.2018.8.2.103.

Effects of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation in Combination with Saliva or Dry Swallowing in Stroke Patients with Dysphagia

  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University, Busan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Science, Graduate School of Inje University, Gimhae, Korea. jisu627@hanmail.net
  • 3Department of Occupational Therapy, Seoul North Municipal Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


Dysphagia after stroke can cause a range of complications, especially aspiration pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. Therefore, rehabilitation methods to reduce aspiration in patients with dysphagia are important. This study examined the effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation combined with saliva or dry swallowing on the swallowing function of stroke patients with dysphagia.
The participants were assigned to either the experimental group (n=9) or control group (n=8). The experimental group received neuromuscular electrical stimulation combined with saliva or dry swallowing, whereas the control group received only voluntary swallowing. Both groups received training 5 days per week for 4 weeks. The oropharyngeal swallowing function was assessed using the video fluoroscopic dysphagia scale (VDS) and penetration-aspiration scale (PAS) based on a video fluoroscopic swallowing study.
After the intervention, the experimental group showed greater improvement in the pharyngeal phase of the VDS and PAS scores than the control group (P=0.038, 0.027, respectively).
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation combined with saliva or dry swallowing improves the pharyngeal swallowing function of stroke patients with dysphagia better than saliva or dry swallowing alone.


Dysphagia; Neuromuscular electrical stimulation; Stroke; Swallowing; Voluntary swallowing exercise
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