Pharyngeal electrical stimulation for neurogenic dysphagia following stroke, traumatic brain injury or other causes: Main results from the PHADER cohort study
Everton, Lisa F.
MetadataShow full item record
BACKGROUND: Neurogenic dysphagia is common and has no definitive treatment. We assessed whether pharyngeal electrical stimulation (PES) is associated with reduced dysphagia. METHODS: The PHAryngeal electrical stimulation for treatment of neurogenic Dysphagia European Registry (PHADER) was a prospective single-arm observational cohort study. Participants were recruited with neurogenic dysphagia (comprising five groups - stroke not needing ventilation; stroke needing ventilation; ventilation acquired; traumatic brain injury; other neurological causes). PES was administered once daily for three days. The primary outcome was the validated dysphagia severity rating scale (DSRS, score best-worst 0-12) at 3 months. FINDINGS: Of 255 enrolled patients from 14 centres in Austria, Germany and UK, 10 failed screening. At baseline, mean (standard deviation) or median [interquartile range]: age 68 (14) years, male 71%, DSRS 11·4 (1·7), time from onset to treatment 32  days; age, time and DSRS differed between diagnostic groups. Insertion of PES catheters was successfully inserted in 239/245 (98%) participants, and was typically easy taking 11·8 min. 9 participants withdrew before the end of treatment. DSRS improved significantly in all dysphagia groups, difference in means (95% confidence intervals, CI) from 0 to 3 months: stroke (n = 79) -6·7 (-7·8, -5·5), ventilated stroke (n = 98) -6·5 (-7·6, -5·5); ventilation acquired (n = 35) -6·6 (-8·4, -4·8); traumatic brain injury (n = 24) -4·5 (-6·6, -2·4). The results for DSRS were mirrored for instrumentally assessed penetration aspiration scale scores. DSRS improved in both supratentorial and infratentorial stroke, with no difference between them (p = 0·32). In previously ventilated participants with tracheotomy, DSRS improved more in participants who could be decannulated (n = 66) -7·5 (-8·6, -6·5) versus not decannulated (n = 33) -2·1 (-3·2, -1·0) (p<0·001). 74 serious adverse events (SAE) occurred in 60 participants with pneumonia (9·2%) the most frequent SAE. INTERPRETATION: In patients with neurogenic dysphagia, PES was safe and associated with reduced measures of dysphagia and penetration/aspiration. FUNDING: Phagenesis Ltd.