2009 Volume 13 Issue 3 Pages 231-236
[Purpose] To evaluate the effects of professional instructions as part of the swallowing function therapy routinely performed in outpatients with dysphagia in our Regional Rehabilitation Center for Children with Disabilities, the status of the swallowing functions at the first examination was examined and compared with that at the final evaluation in pediatric patients suffering from dysphagia.
[Subjects] Among 72 affected children who visited our Regional Habilitation Center for Children with Disabilities during the 2 years and 3 months from September 2003 to December 2006, 60 children including 31 boys and 29 girls (mean age: 2.6±1.4 yrs), who received swallowing function therapy for 1 year or more, were selected for this study.
[Methods] From the patients' medical records as well as the outpatients' medical records concerning dysphagia, the frequency of consultation, outcome, and changes in the swallowing function based on external observation were examined. In addition, possible factors that might have contributed to the improved swallowing functions were also studied.
[Results] The frequency of consultation was 5.8 times (2–10 times) per patient on average. As for outcome, the professional instructions were still continued in 49 patients (81.7%), completed in 6 patients (10.0%), and discontinued in 2 patients (3.3%). Five examination items on the swallowing function were compared at two occasions, that is, at the first examination and at the final evaluation. As a result, three examination items including “lip closure at biting,”“food-grasping and food-cutting capacities with the anterior teeth,” and “water-drinking ability using a spoon” improved significantly. When possible factors that might have related to the changes in the swallowing functions were examined, it was revealed that “tongue movement during treatment” related significantly to the patient's age at the first examination as well as to the frequency of consultation.
[Discussion] In our Center where numerous specialists can participate in the treatment of outpatients with dysphagia, it was suggested from the present study that professional instructions have been given successfully, contributing significantly to the improved swallowing functions as seen in this study.