Stroke patients with the inability to swallow safely (dysphagia) show improved and faster recovery in their swallowing function when using pharyngeal electrical stimulation (PES) versus sham treatment at three months, according to data published as part of the paper: Dysphagia Diagnosis and Treatment: A Multidisciplinary Challenge in the journal Dysphagia. This is the second randomised controlled trial (RCT) to demonstrate the patient benefit of using PES to treat dysphagia, a common complication of stroke, which affects half of the more than 15 million stroke victims globally every year. 1,2
Dysphagia, the inability to swallow safely, is a debilitating condition that frequently leads to potentially life-threatening pneumonia and the surgical implantation of a tube to allow a patient to be fed through the abdominal wall indefinitely.
Patients in the study were recruited from three centres; Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Trafford General Hospital and University Hospital South Manchester. The trial was funded by Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB), a national, response-mode programme established to generate high quality research for the benefit of users of the NHS in England.
An independent and blinded speech and language therapist applied a validated Dysphagia Severity Rating (DSR) scale to 28 patients at baseline, two weeks and three months post-intervention. The DSR scale combines the patient’s ability to swallow with related factors such as the need for a clinician to be present to supervise the patient during feeding. This scale was designed to reflect the clinical burden of dysphagia as well as swallowing function.
Manchester-based Phagenesis has developed Phagenyx®, the only device approved by European regulatory authorities to deliver PES to patients.
Daniel Green, CEO of Phagenesis, said: “The first randomised controlled trial of PES was published in 2010 and provided evidence that this treatment speeds up and improves swallowing recovery post-stroke. This new RCT supports the initial findings and shows that patients continue to improve at three months. We believe that this additional evidence will encourage doctors to treat patients who might otherwise face severe consequences of dysphagia.”
Phagenyx is available in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and the UAE.
Dysphagia Diagnosis and Treatment: A Multidisciplinary Challenge, Dysphagia – February 2014 Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 121-181 DOI 10.1007/s00455-013-9498-1