Self-Perception of Voice and Swallowing Handicap in Parkinson's Disease

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J Parkinsons Dis


BACKGROUND: Hypokinetic dysarthria and dysphagia are known features of Parkinson's disease; however, self-perception of their handicapping effects on emotional, physical, and functional aspects of quality of life over disease duration is less understood.

OBJECTIVE: 1) Based upon patient self-perception, to determine the relationship of the handicapping effects of dysphagia and dysphonia with time since diagnosis in individuals with Parkinson's disease; 2)To determine if there is a relationship between voice and swallowing handicap throughout the course of Parkinson's disease.

METHOD: 277 subjects completed the Dysphagia Handicap Index and the Voice Handicap Index. Subjects were divided into three groups based on disease duration: 0-4 years, 5-9 years, and 10 + years.

RESULTS: Subjects in the longer duration group identified significantly greater perceptions of voice and swallowing handicap compared to the shorter duration groups. There was a significant positive correlation between the DHI and VHI.

CONCLUSION: Self-perception of swallowing and voice handicap in Parkinson's disease are associated with later stages of disease and progress in a linear fashion. Self-perception of voice and swallowing handicap parallel each other throughout disease progression in Parkinson's disease. Individuals may be able to compensate for changes in voice and swallowing early while sensory perceptual feedback is intact. Results support early targeted questioning of patient self-perception of voice and swallowing handicap as identification of one problem indicates awareness of the other, thus creating an opportunity for early treatment and maintenance of swallowing and communication quality of life for as long as possible.

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ePub ahead of print