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Impacts of dysphagia on quality of life (Smith et al., 2022)

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-26, 00:03 authored by Rebecca Smith, Lucy Bryant, Bronwyn Hemsley
Purpose: Research shows that dysphagia impacts quality of life negatively, but the nature of these impacts is not well understood. This review article aims to examine the impacts of dysphagia and its interventions on mealtime-related quality of life, participation, and inclusion for people with dysphagia.
Method: The protocol for this scoping review was published in July 2019 and involved a search of five scientific databases using dysphagia and quality of life–related terms.
Results: In total, 106 studies were included in this review article. A qualitative metasynthesis demonstrated that dysphagia had various negative impacts on quality of life, particularly in populations with severe dysphagia. Dysphagia interventions had a range of positive impacts on quality of life; however, modifying food texture also had negative impacts. Most studies (n = 95) included adults with acquired dysphagia. Only seven studies included people with lifelong conditions, including cerebral palsy or intellectual disability, and only four studies included children. Almost half of the studies (n = 44) used quantitative instruments, including the Swallowing Quality of Life questionnaire or the Eating Assessment Tool, to measure the impact of dysphagia on quality of life, and few studies used qualitative approaches.
Conclusions: There are both positive and negative impacts of dysphagia and dysphagia-related interventions on quality of life, participation, and inclusion. Most research is quantitative and limited to adults with acquired dysphagia. Qualitative and longitudinal studies that include populations with lifelong disability and children are needed to determine how dysphagia and its interventions impact quality of life across conditions and over the life span.

Supplemental Material S1. Medline search strategy for systematic review.

Supplemental Material S2. PRISMA flowchart of inclusion process adapted from Moher et al. (2009).

Supplemental Material S3. Description of included studies.

Supplemental Material S4. Analysis of review studies.

Supplemental Material S5. Assessment items implemented for quality of life.

Supplemental Material S6. Studies found in August 2020.

Smith, R., Bryant, L., & Hemsley, B. (2022). Dysphagia and quality of life, participation, and inclusion experiences and outcomes for adults and children with dysphagia: A scoping review. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups. Advance online publication.


This project was funded by a University of Technology Sydney Doctoral Scholarship (April 2019–December 2019), a National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship (January 2020–time of publication), and an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship (April 2019–time of publication), all awarded to Rebecca Smith.