Cochrane Summaries

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Treatment for swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) in long-term, progressive muscle disease

Hill M, Hughes T, Milford C
Published Online: 
8 October 2008

People with long-lasting, progressive muscle disease often develop swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), normally as a result of muscle weakness. This can lead to weight loss or inability to gain weight, breathing problems due to food inhalation into the airways or social problems resulting from embarrassment about coughing or spluttering while eating. The main treatment options for dysphagia are dietary manipulation (altering the consistency of food and adding supplements), adopting safe swallowing techniques, surgical interventions and feeding through the stomach (enteral feeding). No randomised controlled trials of the effectiveness of treatments for dysphagia in muscle disease were identified. More research is needed.