Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 62-65

A simple bedside test to assess the swallowing dysfunction in Parkinson's disease

Department of Neurology, Institute of Neurology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
K Bhanu
Institute of Neurology, Madras Medical College, Chennai - 600 003, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.128556

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Background: Swallowing changes are common in Parkinson's disease (PD). Early identification is essential to avoid complications of aspiration. Objectives: To evaluate the swallowing ability of the PD patients and to correlate it with the indicators of disease progression. Materials and Methods: A total of 100 PD patients (70 males and 30 females) aged between 50 years and 70 years with varying stage, duration, and severity were enrolled in a cross-sectional study carried out between January and May 2012. A simple bedside water swallowing test was performed using standard 150 ml of water. Swallowing process was assessed under three categories-swallowing speeds (ml/s), swallowing volume (ml/swallow) and swallowing duration (s/swallow). Equal number of age and sex matched controls were also evaluated. Results: All of them completed the task of swallowing. A mean swallowing speed (27.48 ml/s), swallowing volume (28.5 ml/s), and swallowing duration (1.05 s/swallow) was established by the control group. The PD patients showed decreased swallowing speed (7.15 ml/s in males and 6.61 ml/s in females), decreased swallowing volume (14.59 ml/swallow and 14 ml/swallow in females), and increased swallowing duration (2.37 s/swallow and 2.42 s/swallow) which are statistically significant. There was a significant positive correlation between the severity, duration, and staging of the disease with the swallowing performance and a poor correlation between the subjective reports of dysphagia and the objective performance on water swallow test. Conclusion: The water swallowing test is a simple bedside test to identify the swallowing changes early in PD. It is recommended to do the test in all PD Patients to detect dysphagia early and to intervene appropriately.

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