Standardization of surface electromyography utilized to evaluate patients with dysphagia

Michael Vaiman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Backgorund: Patients suspected of having swallowing disorders, could highly benefit from simple diagnostic screening before being referred to specialist evaluations. We introduce surface electromyography (sEMG) to carry out rapid assessment of such patients and propose suggestions for standardizing sEMGs in order to identify abnormal deglutition. Methods: Specifics steps for establishing standards for applying the technique for screening purposes (e.g., evaluation of specific muscles), the requirements for diagnostic sEMG equipment, the sEMG technique itself, and defining the tests suitable for assessing deglutition (e.g., saliva, normal, and excessive swallows and uninterrupted drinking of water) are presented in detail. A previously described normative database for single swallowing and drinking and standard approach to analysis was compared to data on the duration and electric activity of muscles involved in deglutition and with sEMG recordings in order to estimate stages of a swallow. Conclusion: SEMG of swallowing is a simple and reliable method for screening and preliminary differentiation among dysphagia and odynophagia of various origins. This non invasive radiation-free examination has a low level of discomfort, and is simple, timesaving and inexpensive to perform. With standardization of the technique and an established normative database, sEMG can serve as a reliable screening method for optimal patient management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalHead and Face Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


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