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Functional outcomes of pharyngeal stimulation in patients with dysphagia after surgical treatment for head and neck cancer Open Access


Other title
pharyngeal stimulation
posterior pharyngeal wall resection
head and neck cancer
electrical stimulation
functional outcomes
base of tongue resection
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Harris, Jennifer
Supervisor and department
Boliek, Carol (Speech Pathology and Audiology)
Rieger, Jana (Speech Pathology and Audiology)
Examining committee member and department
Sadowski, Daniel (Medicine)
Paslawski, Teresa (Speech Pathology and Audiology)
Norton, Jonathan (Surgery)
Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Head and neck cancer patients often experience swallowing disorders placing them at risk for aspiration and malnutrition. This study examined the effects of electrical stimulation to the pharyngeal wall on swallowing function in post-surgical head and neck cancer patients. Swallowing of liquid, pudding, and cookie consistencies was examined using videofluoroscopy before, and 30 minutes after, a ten minute application of electrical stimulation the pharyngeal wall in 5 male patients experiencing moderate-severe dysphagia. A total of ten measures of swallowing function were obtained from pre- and post-videofluoroscopy studies. Changes were observed post-stimulation in duration of posterior pharyngeal wall to base of tongue contact, total number of swallows, cricopharyngeal opening durations, and pharyngeal transit time. Preliminary findings indicate that electrical stimulation of the pharynx may impact certain features of swallowing in head and neck cancer patients who experience dysphagia. However, further studies are required to confirm the present findings, explore the mechanisms responsible for these changes, and investigate the effect on swallowing function as a result of manipulating stimulus frequencies, intensities and durations.
License granted by Jennifer Harris ( on 2010-04-29T21:16:45Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Each year, head and neck cancer affects an estimated 4350 Canadians (Canadian Cancer Statistics 2007, Canadian Cancer Society)
File author: Rehabilitation Medicine
Page count: 111
File language: en-US
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