Expiratory muscle strength training improves swallowing and respiratory outcomes in people with dysphagia: a systematic review

<p><i>Purpose</i>: To investigate the effects of expiratory muscle strength training on communication and swallowing outcomes in adults with acquired motor based communication and/or swallowing difficulties of any aetiology.</p> <p><i>Method</i>: A systematic review was conducted. Six databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, SPEECHBYTE, AMED and PUBMED) were searched from inception until end of May 2016. Randomised and non-randomised controlled studies and pre-test/post-test studies published in English that investigated the effects of expiratory muscle strength training were included. Study quality was assessed using the PEDro scale. Data were analysed descriptively and effect sizes and associated 95% confidence intervals were calculated.</p> <p><i>Result</i>: Seven articles reporting data from five studies were included. Preliminary data suggests expiratory muscle strength training improved airway safety during swallowing in people with dysphagia and increased the strength of the expiratory muscles in all patient groups. There was little evidence to suggest changes in communication outcomes after expiratory muscle strength training.</p> <p><i>Conclusion</i>: Speech–language pathologists might consider using expiratory muscle strength training to improve airway safety in adults with swallowing disorders.</p>