Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Risk factors and long-term outcomes of oropharyngeal dysphagia in persons with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review protocol.

BACKGROUND: Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OPD) can be functionally debilitating in persons with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). OPD induces alterations in safety and efficiency of food and/or liquid ingestion and may incur negative sequalae such as aspiration pneumonia or malnutrition/dehydration. Early detection and timely management of OPD in pwMS could prevent such complications and reduce mortality rates. Identifying risk factors of OPD relative to its onset or repeat manifestation will enable the development of care pathways that target early assessment and sustained management. The aims of this systematic review are to compile, evaluate, and summarize the existing literature reporting potential risk factors and associated long-term outcomes (e.g., aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition, dehydration, and/or death) of OPD in pwMS.

METHODS: We will undertake a systematic review to identify studies that describe patterns and complications of OPD in pwMS. Variables of interest include predictors of OPD along with long-term outcomes. We will search MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, AMED, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and Scopus. We will consider studies for inclusion if they involve at least 30 adult participants with MS and report risk factors for OPD and/or its long-term outcomes. Studies will be excluded if they refer to esophageal or oropharyngeal dysphagia induced by causes other than multiple sclerosis. Study selection and data extraction will be performed by two independent assessors for abstract and full article review. We will present study characteristics in tables and document research findings for dysphagia-related risk factors or its complications via a narrative format or meta-analysis if warranted (e.g., mean difference and/or risk ratio measurements). All included studies will undergo risk-of-bias assessment conducted independently by two authors with consensus on quality ratings.

DISCUSSION: There is a lacune for systematic reviews involving risk factors and long-term outcomes of dysphagia in pwMS to date. Our systematic review will provide the means to develop accurate and efficient management protocols for careful monitoring and evaluation of dysphagia in pwMS. The results of this systematic review will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.


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