Swallowing with Noninvasive Positive-Pressure Ventilation (NPPV) in Individuals with Muscular Dystrophy: A Qualitative Analysis

Deanna Britton, Jeannette D Hoit, Joshua O Benditt, Justine Poon, Meghan Hansen, Carolyn R Baylor, Kathryn M Yorkston
Dysphagia 2019 March 11
The purpose of the study is to describe experiences of swallowing with two forms of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation (NPPV): mouthpiece NPPV (M-NPPV) and nasal bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) in people with muscular dystrophy. Ten men (ages 22-42 years; M = 29.3; SD = 7.1) with muscular dystrophy (9 with Duchenne's; 1 with Becker's) completed the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10; Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 117(12):919-924 [33]) and took part in semi-structured interviews. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and verified. Phenomenological qualitative research methods were used to code ( and develop themes. All participants affirmed dysphagia symptoms via responses on the EAT-10 (M = 11.3; SD = 6.38; Range = 3-22) and reported eating and drinking with M-NPPV and, to a lesser extent, nasal BPAP. Analysis of interview data revealed three primary themes: (1) M-NPPV improves the eating/drinking experience: Most indicated that using M-NPPV reduced swallowing-related dyspnea. (2) NPPV affects breathing-swallowing coordination: Participants described challenges and compensations in coordinating swallowing with ventilator-delivered inspirations, and that the time needed to chew solid foods between ventilator breaths may lead to dyspnea and fatigue. (3) M-NPPV aids cough effectiveness: Participants described improved cough strength following large M-NPPV delivered inspirations (with or without breath stacking). Although breathing-swallowing coordination is challenging with NPPV, participants reported that eating and drinking is more comfortable than when not using it. Overall, eating and drinking with NPPV delivered via a mouthpiece is preferred and is likely safer for swallowing than with nasal BPAP. M-NPPV (but not nasal BPAP) is reported to improve cough effectiveness, an important pulmonary defense in this population.

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