Aim: To examine whether muscle training with an oral IQoro(R) screen (IQS) improves esophageal dysphagia and reflux symptoms.
Methods: A total of 43 adult patients (21 women and 22 men) were consecutively referred to a swallowing center for the treatment and investigation of long-lasting nonstenotic esophageal dysphagia. Hiatal hernia was confirmed by radiologic examination in 21 patients before enrollment in the study (group A; median age 52 years, range: 19-85 years). No hiatal hernia was detected by radiologic examination in the remaining 22 patients (group B; median age 57 years, range: 22-85 years). Before and after training with an oral IQS for 6-8 mo, the patients were evaluated using a symptom questionnaire (esophageal dysphagia and acid chest symptoms; score 0-3), visual analogue scale (ability to swallow food: score 0-100), lip force test (≥ 15 N), velopharyngeal closure test (≥ 10 s), orofacial motor tests, and an oral sensory test. Another twelve patients (median age 53 years, range: 22-68 years) with hiatal hernia were evaluated using oral IQS traction maneuvers with pressure recordings of the upper esophageal sphincter and hiatus canal as assessed by high-resolution manometry.
Results: Esophageal dysphagia was present in all 43 patients at entry, and 98% of patients showed improvement after IQS training [mean score (range): 2.5 (1-3) vs 0.9 (0-2), P < 0.001]. Symptoms of reflux were reported before training in 86% of the patients who showed improvement at follow-up [1.7 (0-3) vs 0.5 (0-2), P < 0.001). The visual analogue scale scores were classified as pathologic in all 43 patients, and 100% showed improvement after IQS training [71 (30-100) vs 22 (0-50), P < 0.001]. No significant difference in symptom frequency was found between groups A and B before or after IQS training. The lip force test [31 N (12-80 N) vs 54 N (27-116), P < 0.001] and velopharyngeal closure test values [28 s (5-74 s) vs 34 s (13-80 s), P < 0.001] were significantly higher after IQS training. The oral IQS traction results showed an increase in mean pressure in the diaphragmatic hiatus region from 0 mmHg at rest (range: 0-0 mmHG) to 65 mmHg (range: 20-100 mmHg).
Conclusion: Oral IQS training can relieve/improve esophageal dysphagia and reflux symptoms in adults, likely due to improved hiatal competence.
Keywords: Esophageal dysphagia; Manometry; Muscle training; Oral screen; Reflux.