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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 918057, 7 pages
Review Article

Surface Electrical Stimulation for Treating Swallowing Disorders after Stroke: A Review of the Stimulation Intensity Levels and the Electrode Placements

1Department of Speech Therapy, School of Rehabilitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Enghelab Street, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Physiotherapy, School of Rehabilitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3Department of Speech Therapy, School of Rehabilitation, Hamedan University of Medical Sciences, Hamedan, Iran

Received 11 November 2013; Revised 25 February 2014; Accepted 5 March 2014; Published 2 April 2014

Academic Editor: Wuwei Feng

Copyright © 2014 Marziyeh Poorjavad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) for treating dysphagia is a relatively new therapeutic method. There is a paucity of evidence about the use of NMES in patients with dysphagia caused by stroke. The present review aimed to introduce and discuss studies that have evaluated the efficacy of this method amongst dysphagic patients following stroke with emphasis on the intensity of stimulation (sensory or motor level) and the method of electrode placement on the neck. The majority of the reviewed studies describe some positive effects of the NMES on the neck musculature in the swallowing performance of poststroke dysphagic patients, especially when the intensity of the stimulus is adjusted at the sensory level or when the motor electrical stimulation is applied on the infrahyoid muscles during swallowing.