Ibero-American Journal of Exercise and Sports Psychology

Effect of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation on Dysphagia In Children With Down Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Walid Saber Hussain*, Fathy Abdelazeim Elshazly, Fathy Abdelazeim Elshazly and Samah Attia El Shemy

Background: Children with Down syndrome (DS) are increased probability of suffer from feeding difficulties, which can have long-term health effects, such as growth deficits and lower scholastic and  cognitive performance that causes a negative impact on children’s well-being.

Purposes: This study aimed to investigate the effect of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on oral motor skills and swallowing and feeding functions in children with Down syndrome.

Methods: Forty- eight children with DS from both sexes contributed to this research, with ages ranging from 3-6 years. They were randomly divided into two groups of equal numbers. The control group received an especially designed physical therapy program and oral motor training program. The study group received neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in addition to a specially designed physical therapy program and oral motor training program given to the control group. Both groups received the treatment program 3 times / week for 3 successive months. Assessment of oral motor skills was conducted by oral motor assessment scale (OMAS) and the pediatric eating assessment tool (Pedi- EAT) was used for assessment of swallowing and feeding functions. Assessment was performed before and after 3 months of intervention.

Results: The results of the present study showed statistically significant improvement within both groups in all measured variables when comparing their pre- and post-treatment mean values. Statistically significant differences were observed in all measured variables between the two groups in favor of the study group.

Conclusion: Neuromuscular electrical stimulation in conjunction with oral motor exercises is more effective than using oral motor exercises alone in improving oral motor skills and swallowing function in children with Down syndrome.


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