The effects of a volitional breathing technique on swallowing and respiratory coordination in individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

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  • Introduction: Breathing and swallowing are integrally related biomechanical processes that are often impaired in people with ALS (PALS). This may lead to significant functional impairments that negatively impact their quality of life.
    Purpose: The purpose of the overall project was to investigate the therapeutic effects of an expanded lung posture, the ‘barrel chest’ maneuver, on promoting a safer and more effective pattern of breathing while swallowing. The purpose of this CSD project was to determine the inter-rater reliability of judgments used while measuring the main dependent variable of the study: respiratory phase relationship with swallowing.

    Methods: Students in this group project helped analyze results from an ongoing study that involved 21 PALS . The ‘barrel chest’ maneuver was taught to participants in their homes as they swallowed 20 milliliter (ml) sips of water. The treatment effects were measured for respiratory phase relationship, percent lung volume at the point of swallow, and respiratory rate while swallowing using a Vernier 3-axis accelerometer, a kinematic respiration monitor belt, and a portable laptop.
    Results: This student project was able to establish an acceptable level of inter-rater agreement used while measuring respiratory phase relationship with swallowing. The inter-rater reliability between an independent rater and three CSD 900 students exceeded 80% agreement for 30% of the data.
    Conclusions: This CSD 900 project helped ensure that the results generated by the larger study met accepted standards for the inter-rater reliability.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International