Dysphagia, trismus and speech impairment following radiation-based treatment for advanced stage oropharyngeal carcinoma: a one-year prospective evaluation

Rebecca T. Karsten, Najiba Chargi, Lisette van der Molen, Rob J. J. H. van Son, Remco de Bree, Abrahim Al-Mamgani, Jan P. de Boer, Frans J. M. Hilgers, Michiel W. M. van den Brekel, Ludi E. Smeele, Martijn M. Stuiver

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to assess swallowing, mouth opening and speech function during the first year after radiation-based treatment (RT(+)) after introduction of a dedicated preventive rehabilitation program for stage III-IV oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC).

METHODS: Swallowing, mouth opening and speech function were collected before and at six- and twelve-month follow-up after RT(+) for OPC as part of ongoing prospective assessments by speech-language pathologists .

RESULTS: Objective and patient-perceived function deteriorated until 6 months and improved until 12 months after treatment, but did not return to baseline levels with 25%, 20% and 58% of the patients with objective dysphagia, trismus and speech problems, respectively. Feeding tube dependency and pneumonia prevalence was low.

CONCLUSION: Despite successful implementation, a substantial proportion of patients still experience functional limitations after RT(+) for OPC, suggesting room for improvement of the current rehabilitation program. Pretreatment sarcopenia seems associated with worse functional outcomes and might be a relevant new target for rehabilitation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1027
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Head & Neck
Volume279
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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