Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is a widely used treatment modality for dysphagia therapy despite the inconclusive evidence of its effectiveness. Our objective was to complete a retrospective review to analyze the results of NMES with our patient population in an acute rehabilitation facility. In this clinical focus article, we briefly review the current literature on NMES, discuss a clinical protocol of NMES use in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital, and discuss the need for future research in this area.


As with much of the NMES literature, we observed improvement in the ability to swallow following a cerebrovascular accident and traumatic brain injury when a combination of swallowing therapy and NMES treatment was used. Although this combination works for our patients to improve swallow function, the impact of swallow therapy alone remains unclear. Further investigative research to clarify NMES protocols and patient population is needed to optimize results. Therefore, a large randomized clinical trial would be beneficial to clearly define the role of NMES in recovery of swallowing ability following a brain injury.


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