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ORIGINAL ARTICLE   Open accessopen access

European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2023 October;59(5):543-53

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.23.08023-1

Copyright © 2023 THE AUTHORS

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license which allows users to copy and distribute the manuscript, as long as this is not done for commercial purposes and further does not permit distribution of the manuscript if it is changed or edited in any way, and as long as the user gives appropriate credits to the original author(s) and the source (with a link to the formal publication through the relevant DOI) and provides a link to the license.

language: English

Theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation for dysphagia patients during recovery stage of stroke: a randomized controlled trial

Jiahui TAI 1, 2, Ruiping HU 1, 2, Shunjuan FAN 1, 2, Yi WU 1, 2, Tingwei WANG 1, 2, Junfa WU 1, 2

1 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China; 2 National Center for Neurological Disorders, Shanghai, China

BACKGROUND: The Theta-burst Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TBS) is an emerging modality of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). However, the efficacy of TBS on post-stroke recovery-stage patients with dysphagia remains unclear.
AIM: To investigate the effect of intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) and continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) in post-stroke dysphagia patients within the recovery stage.
DESIGN: Randomized controlled double blinded trial.
SETTING: Inpatient.
POPULATION: Ninety patients with dysphagia after stroke within 1 to 6 months.
METHODS: Patients were divided into the supratentorial group and the brainstem group, and both of groups were further divided into three subgroups, including the sham subgroups, the iTBS subgroups, and the cTBS subgroups. Each of subgroups received 30 min of traditional swallowing rehabilitation treatment every day for 4 weeks. In addition, the iTBS subgroups received iTBS over the cortex of the suprahyoid muscles on the affected hemisphere, the cTBS subgroups received cTBS on the unaffected hemisphere, and the sham subgroups received sham stimulation on unilateral hemisphere. Standardized swallowing assessment (SSA), Oral Motor Function Scale (OMFS) and fiberoptic endoscopic examination of swallowing (FEES) were assessed before and after treatments.
RESULTS: In the supratentorial group, compared with the sham and cTBS subgroups, the iTBS subgroups showed significant improvement in SSA, OMFS, vocal folds movement, laryngeal sensation, and Rosenbek Penetration-Aspiration Scale (PAS) (P<0.05). In the brainstem group, compared with the sham subgroup, the iTBS subgroup significantly improved SSA, OMFS, Yale Pharyngeal Residue Severity Rating Scale (YPR-SRS) and PAS (P<0.05), and the cTBS subgroup significantly improved SSA, YPR-SRS and PAS (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that iTBS might be an effective stimulation pattern to improve the overall swallowing function whether in supratentorial stroke patients or brainstem stroke patients.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: iTBS seems to be a promising approach for rehabilitation of overall swallowing function in post-stroke patients.

KEY WORDS: Stroke; Deglutition disorders; Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Rehabilitation

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