Dysphagia After Total Laryngectomy: An Exploratory Study and Clinical Phase II Rehabilitation Trial with the Novel Swallowing Exercise Aid (SEA 2.0).


The aims of this exploratory study and clinical phase II trial were to assess the specific nature and extent of dysphagia in laryngectomized patients with self-reported dysphagia, and its rehabilitation potential using the novel Swallowing Exercise Aid (SEA 2.0). Twenty laryngectomized patients participated in a six-week exercise program with the SEA 2.0. Exercises consisted of Chin Tuck Against Resistance (CTAR), Jaw Opening Against Resistance (JOAR), and Effortful Swallow Against Resistance, conducted three times per day. Swallowing was assessed at baseline (T0), six (T1) and 14 (T2) weeks, consisting of patient-reported outcomes, BMI, videofluoroscopy, swallowing capacity, and muscle strength measurements. Dysphagia significantly impacts quality of life, with impaired swallowing speed and bolus propulsion as main reported issues. Subjective dysphagia parameters, swallowing capacity, and pharyngeal residue clearance were reduced, but BMI was normal. Muscle and tongue strength were within normal ranges. All participants managed to use the SEA 2.0. Adherence was 95%. At T1, subjective swallowing parameters (MDADI and EAT-10) showed clinically relevant improvements. Objectively, CTAR and JOAR strength increased with 27.4 and 20.1 Newton, respectively. Also, swallowing capacity (from 2.4 g/s to 3.8 g/s) and pharyngeal residue clearance improved. At T2, results were slightly lower than at T1, but still better than at baseline. Dysphagia in laryngectomized patients affects quality of life, but swallowing can be improved with a six-week rehabilitation program using the novel SEA 2.0. Adherence was excellent and several subjective and objective swallowing parameters improved.

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  • Publication date 01-04-2024

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