ABSTRACT: Swallowing problems can be relevant, even if underestimated, in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. However, no specific questionnaire for the assessment of dysphagia in MS is available. We built a questionnaire (DYsphagia in MUltiple Sclerosis, DYMUS) that was administered to 226 consecutive MS patients (168 F, 58 M, mean age 40.5 years, mean disease duration 10.1 years, mean EDSS 3.1) during control visits in four Italian MS Centres. DYMUS was abnormal in 80 cases (35%). The patients who claimed to have swallowing problems had a significantly higher mean DYMUS score that the other patients (p<0.0001). Mean DYMUS scores were significantly higher in the progressive forms (p=0.003). DYMUS values were significantly correlated to EDSS (p=0.0007). DYMUS showed a very good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.877). Factor analysis allowed us to sub-divide DYMUS in two sub-scales, 'dysphagia for solid' and 'dysphagia for liquid', both of them had a very good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.852 and 0.870 respectively). DYMUS demonstrated to be an easy and consistent tool to detect dysphagia and its main characteristics in MS. It can be used for preliminary selection of patients to submit to more specific instrumental analyses, and to direct toward programs for prevention of aspiration.
Journal of the Neurological Sciences 07/2008; 269(1-2):49-53. · 2.35 Impact Factor