Does sensory transcutaneous electrical stimulation prevent pneumonia in the acute stage of stroke? A preliminary study

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Acute stroke patients with dysphagia are at risk of developing pulmonary infection, which increases the risk of death. Therefore, optimal management of dysphagia is essential; however, available evidence supporting the effectiveness of dysphagia treatments is limited. Surface electrical stimulation (e-stim) has been developed as a new treatment modality for dysphagia. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of surface sensory e-stim therapy in preventing pulmonary infection in 53 acute stroke patients with dysphagia. The risk of pulmonary infection was significantly decreased in the general dysphagia/surface e-stim combination therapy group. We considered that surface e-stim therapy can impact dysphagia treatment in acute stroke patients, particularly in preventing pulmonary infection. Future large and randomized studies are needed to evaluate the effects of surface sensory e-stim therapy on acute stroke patients.

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