Objective: We examined the characteristics of dysphagia in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a hereditary neuromuscular disease causing weakness of limb, facial, and oropharyngeal muscles via a videofluoroscopic swallowing study, and investigated the plausibility of using these outcome measures for quantitative analysis. Methods: A videofluoroscopic swallowing study was performed on 111 consecutive patients with genetically confirmed spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy and 53 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Swallowing of 3-mL liquid barium was analyzed by the Logemann's Videofluorographic Examination of Swallowing worksheet. Results: Of more than 40 radiographic findings, the most pertinent abnormal findings in patients with spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, included vallecular residue after swallow (residue just behind the tongue base), nasal penetration, and insufficient tongue movement (P < 0.001 for each) compared with healthy controls. Quantitative analyses showed that pharyngeal residue after initial swallowing, oral residue after initial swallowing, multiple swallowing sessions, and the penetration–aspiration scale were significantly worse in these patients (P ≤ 0.005 for each) than in controls. In patients with spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, laryngeal penetration was observed more frequently in those without subjective dysphagia. Interpretation: Dysphagia of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy was characterized by impaired tongue movement in the oral phase and nasal penetration followed by pharyngeal residues, which resulted in multiple swallowing sessions and laryngeal penetration. Although major limitations of reproducibility and radiation exposure still exist with videofluoroscopy, pharyngeal residue after initial swallowing and the penetration–aspiration scale might serve as potential outcome measures in clinical studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology