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

  • Author / Creator
    Harris, Jennifer
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.