Swallowing Exercises in Patients Post-Stroke: What Is the Current Evidence? The act of swallowing is “multidimensional” and involves contributions from several neuroanatomical structures. A stroke affecting any of these areas is likely to cause some amount of physiologic impairment in deglutition. This paper explores current and emerging evidence for rehabilitative exercises for physiological impairments in deglutition due to stroke. Evidence ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2017
Swallowing Exercises in Patients Post-Stroke: What Is the Current Evidence?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Balaji Rangarathnam
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • Gary H. McCullough
    College of Health Sciences, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Balaji Rangarathnam has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Gary H. McCullough has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: Balaji Rangarathnam has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Gary H. McCullough has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Balaji Rangarathnam has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Gary H. McCullough has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Balaji Rangarathnam has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Gary H. McCullough has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Part 1
Article   |   March 01, 2017
Swallowing Exercises in Patients Post-Stroke: What Is the Current Evidence?
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, March 2017, Vol. 2, 4-12. doi:10.1044/persp2.SIG13.4
History: Received August 1, 2016 , Revised September 19, 2016 , Accepted September 21, 2016
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, March 2017, Vol. 2, 4-12. doi:10.1044/persp2.SIG13.4
History: Received August 1, 2016; Revised September 19, 2016; Accepted September 21, 2016

The act of swallowing is “multidimensional” and involves contributions from several neuroanatomical structures. A stroke affecting any of these areas is likely to cause some amount of physiologic impairment in deglutition. This paper explores current and emerging evidence for rehabilitative exercises for physiological impairments in deglutition due to stroke. Evidence is more emerging than current. However, focus on task specificity and muscle load, along with the use of resistance that can be measured in an increasing number of ways, is encouraging. Results are supporting exercises at specific increments of maximum values using exercises that are as task-specific as possible. Clinical trials on patients post-stroke are challenging and require scrutiny toward diagnosis, age, severity, and type of dysphagia, as well as judicious use of controls. More research is needed to define effective exercise programs for swallowing impairments post-stroke.

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