Tongue function can affect both the oral and pharyngeal stages of the swallowing process, and proper tongue strength is vital for safe oropharyngeal swallowing. This trial investigated the effect of tongue-to-palate resistance training (TPRT) on tongue strength and oropharyngeal swallowing function in stroke with dysphagia patients. This trial was performed using a 4-week, two-group, pre-post-design. Participants were allocated to the experimental group (n = 18) or the control group (n = 17). The experimental group performed TPRT for 4 weeks (5 days per week) and traditional dysphagia therapy, whereas the control group performed traditional dysphagia therapy on the same schedule. Tongue strength was measured using the Iowa Oral Performance Instrument. Swallowing function was measured using the videofluoroscopic dysphagia scale (VDS) and penetration-aspiration scale (PAS) based on a videofluoroscopic swallowing study. Experimental group showed more improved in the tongue strength (both anterior and posterior regions, P = 0·009, 0·015). In addition, the experimental group showed more improved scores on the oral and pharyngeal phase of VDS (P = 0·029, 0·007), but not on the PAS (P = 0·471), compared with the control group. This study demonstrated the effectiveness of TPRT in increasing tongue muscle strength and improving swallowing function in patients with post-stroke dysphagia. Therefore, we recommend TPRT as an easy and simple rehabilitation strategy for improving swallowing in patients with dysphagia.
Keywords: aspiration; dysphagia; stroke; swallowing; tongue.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.