78% of patients with Huntington’s Disease (HD) suffer from dysphagia.The treatment of the speech therapist in Atlant is focused on compensation strategies and swallowing advices. Literature shows positive results on improving the swallowing function in CVA, head and neck cancer and Parkinson’s disease by actively training with biofeedback. SilverFit Rephagia is a training program with a series of exercises to improve the swallowing function, by using a biofeedback system with a sEMG electrode. The swallowing response can be shown by graphs or as game-like exercises. It is unknown whether SilverFit Rephagia is applicable to HD patients.Aims
Insight in the applicability, and patient experiences with SilverFit Rephagia by HD patients in a day care program.Methods
A practice based evaluation study is performed amongst HD patients in day care. Each patient participated in 3 training sessions. During each session, the patient was observed by the speech therapist about the application of the training program and possible contra indications. In addition patients were interviewed by the therapist concerning their experiences with the program.Results
Seven HD patients were included. Observations showed that despite the chorea the sEMG electrode stays in place. The swallowing movement however, needed to be selected manually instead of automatically by the program itself. Most patients were sufficiently concentrated. All patients finished each session within the determined 45 minutes and responded enthusiastic about the possibility to train the swallowing function in this way. They claimed that the program enlarged their motivation to practice.Conclusion
This study indicates that the SilverFit Rephagia program is applicable in the treatment of dysphagia in HD patients in day care. Selecting the swallowing movement manually, is seen as conditional.