Healthcare Industry News:  dysphagia 


 News Release - November 15, 2006

New Study Finds VitalStim(R) Therapy More Effective Than Traditional Dysphagia Treatment

Findings Reported in Peer Review Journal Validate Efficacy of Modality

NEW YORK, Nov. 15 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- An independent research study has found VitalStim® Therapy to be superior to traditional therapies in the treatment of dysphagia, a swallowing disorder affecting 15 million Americans.

First presented by Peter C. Belafsky, MD, PhD of the Center for Voice and Swallowing, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA, at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery in September, the research study is reported in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, November 2006.

The article, "Transcutaneous electrical stimulation versus traditional dysphagia therapy: a nonconcurrent cohort study," states: "There have been very few innovations in the treatment of swallowing disorders in recent years. The mainstay of nonsurgical therapy continues to be dietary restrictions, swallowing maneuvers, and swallowing exercises. The treatment efficacy of these modalities is generally poor. Electrical stimulation has been used in rehabilitative medicine to retard disuse atrophy, exercise striated muscle, and accelerate wound healing. The idea of using electrical stimulation (ES) to rehabilitate the swallowing mechanism is relatively new."

According to the authors, "The results of our retrospective case control study suggest that dysphagia therapy with electrical stimulation is superior to traditional dysphagia therapy alone in individuals in a long-term acute care facility. Individuals receiving ES [VitalStim® Therapy] required fewer treatment sessions and displayed a trend toward a shorter length of hospitalization than persons receiving traditional dysphagia therapy."

The lead researcher on this study was Lisa Blumenfeld, MA, CCC-SLP. Other members of the team included Yoav Hahn, MD, Amanda LePage, MA, CCC-SLP, and Rebecca Leonard, PhD, of the Center for Voice and Swallowing, University of California at Davis, and the Scripps Center for Voice and Swallowing, La Jolla, CA.

According to Yorick Wijting, PT, Director of Medical Research, Chattanooga Group, developers and manufacturers of VitalStim® Therapy, "This study, along with findings of other independent medical researchers awaiting publication, elevates VitalStim to a new level of acceptance by the dysphagia treatment community, payer organizations and the public at large."

Although little known, dysphagia often has devastating consequences. According to the Agency for Health Care Policy (AHCPR), each year over 60,000 Americans die from complications associated with swallowing dysfunction, most commonly aspiration pneumonia. More people die annually from complications associated with swallowing disorders than from liver and kidney disease and HIV-AIDS combined.

VitalStim® Therapy is the only electrical stimulation device cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use on throat muscles in the treatment of dysphagia. The patented device allows a small electric current to pass through external electrodes on the neck in order to re-educate the muscles around the throat to restore swallowing function. To date, VitalStim® Therapy has been administered with no reported adverse effects to over 40,000 patients by over 5,000 VitalStim-trained and certified therapists around the country.

Source: VitalStim

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