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S1_JSLHR-21-00539DiPietro.pdf (633.06 kB)

Dysarthria and ventilation dysfunction in PD (Di Pietro et al., 2022)

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posted on 2022-10-04, 19:11 authored by Davide Antonio Di Pietro, Adriana Olivares, Laura Comini, Giuliana Vezzadini, Alberto Luisa, Anna Petrolati, Sara Boccola, Elisa Boccali, Monica Pasotti, Laura Danna, Michele Vitacca

Purpose: Almost 90% of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) develop voice and speech disorders during the course of the disease. Ventilatory dysfunction is one of the main causes. We aimed to evaluate relationships between respiratory impairments and speech/voice changes in PD.

Method: At Day 15 from admission, in consecutive clinically stable PD patients in a neurorehabilitation unit, we collected clinical data as follows: comorbidities, PD severity, motor function and balance, respiratory function at rest (including muscle strength and cough ability), during exercise-induced desaturation and at night, voice function (Voice Handicap Index [VHI] and acoustic analysis [Praat]), speech disorders (Robertson Dysarthria Profile [RDP]), and postural abnormalities. Based on an arbitrary RDP cutoff, two groups with different dysarthria degree were identified—moderate–severe versus no–mild dysarthria—and compared.

Results: Of 55 patients analyzed (median value Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale Part II 9 and Part III 17), we found significant impairments in inspiratory and expiratory muscle pressure (> 90%, both), exercise tolerance at 6-min walking distance (96%), nocturnal (12.7%) and exercise-induced (21.8%) desaturation, VHI (34%), and Praat Shimmer% (89%). Patients with moderate–severe dysarthria (16% of total sample) had more comorbidities/disabilities and worse respiratory pattern and postural abnormalities (camptocormia) than those with no–mild dysarthria. Moreover, the risk of presenting nocturnal desaturation, reduced peak expiratory flow, and cough ability was about 11, 13, and 8 times higher in the moderate–severe group.

Conclusions: Dysarthria and respiratory dysfunction are closely associated in PD patients, particularly nocturnal desaturation and reduced cough ability. In addition, postural condition could be at the base of both respiratory and voice impairments.

Supplemental Material S1. Spearman correlations of RDP, VHI, voice parameters from PRAAT and C7 distance with all other not categorical variables. 

Di Pietro, D. A., Olivares, A., Comini, L., Vezzadini, G., Luisa, A., Petrolati, A., Boccola, S., Boccali, E., Pasotti, M., Danna, L., & Vitacca, M. (2022). Voice alterations, dysarthria, and respiratory derangements in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


This work was supported by the “Ricerca Corrente” funding scheme of the Ministry of Health, Italy.