The effect of Electrical Stimulation of the Suprahyoid Muscles in post liver transplant dysphagic patients: A Pilot Study

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Authors (including presenting author) :
Yip CY, Wong YH, Wong K
Affiliation :
Speech therapy department, Queen Mary Hospital
Introduction :
Impaired physical performance and fatigue have been widely researched as a characteristic in patients who received liver transplantation. Prolonged joint immobilization and bed rest contribute to disused muscle atrophy. Recent literature has suggested that protein catabolism, delayed recovery of protein synthetic capacity and post-operative sarcopenia affects skeletal muscle strength and exercise capacity. It is hypothesized that swallowing ability may be affected post liver transplant. Oral phase dysphagia has been documented in chronic liver transplant recipients. However, pharyngeal dysphagia in acute post liver transplant recipients has not been well investigated. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) was an effective treatment in promoting muscle protein synthesis rates in disused muscles (i.e., leg). No prior research has investigated the effects of NMES in patients post liver transplant.
Objectives :
This pilot study aims to investigate the effectiveness of early intervention using NMES to strengthen the suprahyoid muscles in patients post liver-transplant.
Methodology :
Five subjects, who underwent liver transplant, were recruited and engaged in 10 sessions of NMES, all patients demonstrated improvement in the penetration-aspiration scales in VFSS and all of them could resume oral feeding post treatment.
Result & Outcome :
This pilot study suggested NMES could serve as an effective treatment option to strengthen the suprahyoid muscles of patients with post liver transplantation. A larger sample size was warranted in future study.
speech therapist

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