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Dysphagia in Ambulant Patients with Parkinson's Disease: common, not dangerous

     Axel R. Wintzen, Umesh A. Badrising, Raymund A.C. Roos, Jan Vielvoye, Lishya Liauw and Ernest K.J. Pauwels

Abstract:   To assess the frequency of subjective and objective dysphagia and its possible pulmonary sequelae, we prospectively studied 22 out-patients with Parkinson's disease; 15 spouses served as controls. All subjects answered a standard questionnaire concerning swallowing and respiratory functions and underwent barium swallow videofluoroscopy. Possible pulmonary infection was investigated by recordings of body temperature, ESR, leucocyte count, and chest X-ray. Patients had significantly more symptoms than controls, especially choking, piece-meal deglutition and regurgitation. Videofluoroscopy revealed tracheal aspiration in one patient, vestibular aspiration in one patient and in one control. Non-fluent swallowing movements were common in patients: abnormal bolus formation, delayed swallowing reflex, vallecular stasis, and piriform sinus residue. None of the subjects had signs of pulmonary infection. Both subjective and objective oro-pharyngeal dysfunction is frequent in ambulant Parkinson patients, but apparently does not produce demonstrable pulmonary infection.

Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 1994; 21: 53-56


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