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      Oropharyngeal swallow physiology and swallowing-related quality of life in underweight patients with concomitant advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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          Swallowing impairment (dysphagia) has been associated with COPD and may contribute to exacerbations of this chronic and progressive disease. Further, risk of mortality increases with concomitant presence of cachexia in the COPD population. The purpose of this prospective study was to depict oropharyngeal swallowing physiology in underweight patients with stable but advanced-stage COPD.

          Patients and methods

          Ten underweight patients with stable but advanced COPD underwent a modified barium swallow study. Analysis of oropharyngeal swallowing function was completed using the standardized Modified Barium Swallow Impairment Profile and the Penetration–Aspiration Scale. Scores from the Dysphagia Handicap Index and 10-item Eating Assessment Tool were collected to assess patient perception of swallowing difficulty. Findings were compared to age- and sex-matched healthy controls.


          Significantly higher MBSImP oral total scores ( P=0.007) were observed in COPD patients compared to matched controls, but no difference was observed in pharyngeal total scores ( P=0.105). Patients with COPD had significantly higher maximum PAS scores compared with controls ( P=0.030). There was no significant difference in EAT-10 or DHI scores between patients with COPD and controls ( P=0.41 and P=0.08, respectively).


          Underweight patients with severe but stable COPD present with dysphagia that may not be recognized by the patient. Further investigation is needed to elucidate the interaction between the respiratory–swallowing systems, how muscular weakness may contribute to swallowing impairment, and responsiveness to swallowing treatment.

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          Most cited references 15

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          A penetration-aspiration scale.

          The development and use of an 8-point, equal-appearing interval scale to describe penetration and aspiration events are described. Scores are determined primarily by the depth to which material passes in the airway and by whether or not material entering the airway is expelled. Intra- and interjudge reliability have been established. Clinical and scientific uses of the scale are discussed.
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            Impact of exacerbations on COPD.

             A Anzueto (2010)
            Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) determine disease-associated morbidity, mortality, resource burden and healthcare costs. Acute exacerbation care requirements range from unscheduled primary care visits to emergency room, inpatient or intensive care, generating significant costs in COPD. Even after an exacerbation resolves, respiratory, physical, social and emotional impairment may persist for prolonged time. Frequent exacerbations, mainly in patients with severe COPD, accelerate disease progression and mortality. Thus, patients with frequent exacerbations have a more rapid decline in lung function, worse quality of life and decreased exercise performance. Management of COPD directed to reduce incidence and severity of exacerbations improves long-term health status and conserves health care resources and costs.
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              MBS measurement tool for swallow impairment--MBSImp: establishing a standard.

              The aim of this study was to test reliability, content, construct, and external validity of a new modified barium swallowing study (MBSS) tool (MBSImp) that is used to quantify swallowing impairment. Multiple regression, confirmatory factor, and correlation analyses were used to analyze 300 in- and outpatients with heterogeneous medical and surgical diagnoses who were sequentially referred for MBS exams at a university medical center and private tertiary care community hospital. Main outcome measures were the MBSImp and index scores of aspiration, health status, and quality of life. Inter- and intrarater concordance were 80% or greater for blinded scoring of MBSSs. Regression analysis revealed contributions of eight of nine swallow types to impressions of overall swallowing impairment (p /= 0.5) that formed two impairment groupings (oral and pharyngeal). Significant correlations were found between Oral and Pharyngeal Impairment scores and Penetration-Aspiration Scale scores, and indexes of intake status, nutrition, health status, and quality of life. The MBSImp demonstrated clinical practicality, favorable inter- and intrarater reliability following standardized training, content, and external validity. This study reflects potential for establishment of a new standard for quantification and comparison of oropharyngeal swallowing impairment across patient diagnoses as measured on MBSS.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                29 August 2018
                : 13
                : 2663-2671
                [1 ]Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, College of Allied Health Professions, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688, USA, garand@
                [2 ]Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
                [3 ]Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, School of Communication, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Kendrea L Garand, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of South Alabama, 5721 USA Drive North, HAHN 1119, Mobile, AL 36688, USA, Tel +1 251 445 9275, Email garand@
                © 2018 Garand et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Clinical Trial Report

                Respiratory medicine

                dysphagia, underweight, mbsimp, copd, swallowing impairment


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