, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 141–172 | Cite as

Health-Related Quality of Life and Oropharyngeal Dysphagia: A Systematic Review

  • Ellie Jones
  • Renée Speyer
  • Berit Kertscher
  • Deborah Denman
  • Katina Swan
  • Reinie Cordier
Review Article


The negative impact of increased bolus modification on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in persons with oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) has been described in previous literature; however, findings may have been influenced by the severity of OD and underlying etiology. The current systematic review therefore aims to investigate the relationships between HRQoL and OD and to report on changes in HRQoL and OD following intervention. This review was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA statement. A systematic search of the literature was performed using PubMed and Embase. All available English publications up to February 2016 that reported on OD and HRQoL were included. Articles that studied OD arising from esophageal dysfunction or included less than 15 participants with OD, were excluded. Thirty-five studies met the inclusion criteria. Inverse bidirectional relationships were found between decreased HRQoL and increased OD severity. Following intervention, changes were evident through improved HRQoL with decreased OD severity. The findings of this paper highlight the importance of targeting HRQoL in patients with OD. However, because of the heterogeneity in methodology, terminology, and assessment procedures used in the retrieved articles, the generalization of study results is limited. More research investigating the relationships between HRQoL and OD is needed. Future studies should implement study designs that lead to stronger levels of evidence, quantify the severity of OD and underlying diseases, use validated measures and less ambiguous terminology.


Oropharyngeal dysphagia Health-related quality of life Deglutition 



We would like to thank the librarians of Waleus Library (Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands) for formulating the literature search strategies.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Healthcare SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck SurgeryLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.School of Occupational Therapy and Social WorkCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  4. 4.RehaA Winterthur, RehaClinicBad ZurzachSwitzerland
  5. 5.Gold Coast Health ServiceQueensland HealthRobinaAustralia
  6. 6.Faculty of Educational SciencesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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