Exploring the efficacy of the expiratory muscle strength trainer to improve swallowing in inclusion body myositis: A pilot study
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM) is the most common acquired myopathy in older individuals with more than two thirds of patients experiencing impaired swallowing. There are currently no standardized exercise therapies to improve or sustain swallowing despite good evidence for exercise therapy in limb muscles. Reduced upper esophageal sphincter opening is a common abnormality associated with dysphagia in IBM. This pilot study recruited IBM patients with abnormal upper esophageal sphincter function and dysphagia into an exercise program. It was hypothesized that regular practice using the Expiratory Muscle Strength Trainer (EMST) device would improve hyolaryngeal movement by strengthening suprahyoid musculature and facilitate opening of the upper esophageal sphincter thereby improving swallowing and quality of life. Overall, IBM patients who used the EMST device demonstrated no improvement in swallowing function. Consistent with that result, there was also no change in measures of quality of life. However, further studies are needed to elucidate whether it has a preventative role in the development or progression of dysphagia in IBM as there is a suggestion that patients with a shorter duration of disease may have had some benefit. This research provides pilot data and recommendations that will guide future studies on exercise therapy and swallowing in this area.