Transcranial direct current stimulation in post-stroke dysphagia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials
Authors: Kavian Ghandehari; Marjan Erfani; Elnaz Kiadarbandsari; Meysam Pourgholami
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Introduction: The aim of this research was to systematically review all the randomized controlled trials that have evaluated the effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on post-stroke dysphagia.
Methods: Three electronic databases were searched for relevant articles that were uploaded from their inception to March 2015: PubMed, Cochrane Library (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), and Scopus. All data was that was related to the location of the cerebrovascular accident (CVA), the parameters of tDCS, post-stroke time to commencement of tDCS, the stimulated hemisphere, stimulation dose, any outcome measurements, and follow-up duration were extracted and assessed. Finally, a number of observations were generated through a qualitative synthesis of the extracted data.
Result: Three eligible randomized controlled trials were included in the systematic review. All three trials reported that, in comparison to a placebo, tDCS had a statistically significant effect on post-stroke dysphagia.
Discussion: The results of our systematic review suggest that tDCS may represent a promising novel treatment for post-stroke dysphagia. However, to date, little is known about the optimal parameters of tDCS for relieving post-stroke dysphagia. Further studies are warranted to refine this promising intervention by exploring the optimal parameters of tDCS.
Conclusion: Since brainstem swallowing centers have bilateral cortical innervations, measures that enhance cortical input and sensorimotor control of brainstem swallowing may facilitate recovery from dysphagia.