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Cryostimulation and recovery from oropharyngeal dysphagia after stroke

Cryostimulation may hold promise in restoring oropharyngeal sensitivity and, by extension, the swallowing reaction, counteracting premature escape of food in patients with neurogenic dysphagia after stroke. There is a clinical study from Brazil (Zart P, et al., Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Jan;17(1):31-40. doi: 10.7162/S1809-97772013000100006) evaluating its efficacy.

In this study, 6 men and 1 woman were recruited, 28 to 64 years of age, with a diagnosis of stroke and current oropharyngeal dysphagia without any other underlying disease. They underwent speech-language pathology evaluation and videofluoroscopic assessment of the dysphagia. They were then treated with cryostimulation, consisting of 10 applications to each structure (anterior faucial pillar, posterior oropharyngeal wall, soft palate, and back tongue) 3 times a day (for a total of 30 daily applications per structure) for 4 consecutive days. They were then re-evaluated.

Beneficial effects on oropharyngeal sensitivity were observed in 6 of the 7 subjects. There was also a significant improvement in swallowing efficiency.

On this limited data, it does appear that cryostimulation is of benefit, and warrants further study.

MyoNews from BreatheWorksTM is a report on trends and developments in oromyofunctional disorder and therapy. These updates are not intended as diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease or syndrome.

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