- The Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine
- Progress in Rehabilitation Medicine (ISSN:24321354)
- vol.7, pp.20220007, 2022 (Released:2022-02-17)
Objectives: Swallowing function is affected in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), putting them at risk of exacerbation of COPD. We previously reported the effectiveness of the repetitive saliva swallowing test (RSST) in screening for patients at risk of COPD exacerbation. However, evidence on how to improve swallowing function in this population is extremely limited. Interferential current transcutaneous electrical sensory stimulation (IFC-TESS) stimulates the larynx and pharynx, thereby improving their sensory function. IFC-TESS is an emerging tool to enhance airway protection and increase swallowing frequency; however, its safety and efficacy in patients with COPD is unknown. Therefore, we performed a preliminary prospective study focusing on stable COPD patients.Methods: Patients with stable COPD who were hospitalized for yearly evaluation were recruited. Patients were included if their RSST was 5 or less. Nurses carried out IFC-TESS twice daily for 10 days. Swallow screening results were compared before and after the 10-day intervention.Results: Ten patients were included in the study. The IFC-TESS intervention was performed safely. Patients and nurses reported no discomfort or concerns regarding the intervention. The EAT-10 and RSST scores improved significantly after the intervention, and tongue pressure also tended to improve.Conclusions: IFC-TESS may be a promising intervention to improve swallowing in patients with COPD who are easily fatigued and struggle to perform swallowing exercises.