Here you will find a summary of evidence and research relating to dysphagia and the role of speech and language therapy.

Visit the RCSLT Research Centre for information and resources to support your evidence-based practice, ways to enhance your continuing professional development (CPD), information about clinical academic careers, resources to help you get involved in research and much more.

Please contact us if you have any suggestions or feedback on these pages.

Finding evidence

Access research articles through our RCSLT Journals Collection and more resources to support using evidence-based practice in our Research Centre.

ASHA Evidence Maps

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has collated recent research by clinical area or condition. This includes external scientific evidence, clinical expertise and client perspectives.

ASHA Evidence map adult dysphagia.

ASHA Evidence map paediatric dysphagia.

Systematic reviews

Aredson, J., Clark, H., Lazarus, C., Schooling, T. & Frymark, T. (2010). Evidence-based systematic review: effects of oral motor interventions on feeding and swallowing in preterm infants. American Journal of Speech and Language Pathology, 19 (4), 321-340.

Beck, A. M., Kiaersgaard, A., Hansen, T. & Poulsen, I. (2017).Systematic review and evidence-based recommendations on texture modified foods and thickened liquids for adults (above 17 years) with oropharyngeal dysphagia- An updated clinical guideline. Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, 9, 30317-10325.

Brooks, M., McLaughlin, E. & Shields, N. (2017). Expiratory muscle strength training improves swallowing and respiratory outcomes in people with dysphagia: a systematic review. International Journal of Speech and Language Pathology, 1. DOI: 10.1080/17549507.2017.1387285.

Eltringham, S.A., Kilner, K., Gee, M., Sage, K., Bray, B.D., Smith, C.J. & Pownall, S. (2019). Factors Associated with Risk of Stroke-Associated Pneumonia in Patients with Dysphagia: A Systematic Review. Dysphagia. 

Gosa, M. M., Carden, H. T., Jacks, C. C., Threadgill, A. Y. & Sidlovsky, T. C. (2017). Evidence to support treatment options for children with swallowing and feeding disorders: A systematic review. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, 10 (2), 107-136.

Govender, R., Smith, C. H., Taylor, S. A., Barratt, H. & Gardner, B. (2017). Swallowing interventions for the treatment of dysphagia after head and neck cancer: a systematic review of behavioural strategies used to promote patient adherence to swallowing exercises. BMC Cancer, 17 (43), 1-15.

Heckathorn, D. E., Speyer, R., Taylor, J. & Cordier, R. (2016). Systematic review: non-instrumental swallowing and feeding assessments in pediatrics. Dysphagia, 31 (1), 1-23.

Krekeler, B. N., Broadfoot, C. K., Johnson, S., Connor, N. P. & Rogus-Pulia, N. (2017). Patient adherence to dysphagia recommendations: a systematic review. Dysphagia.

Madhavan, A., LaGorio, L. A., Crary, M. A., Dahl, W. J. & Carnaby, G. D. (2016).Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Dysphagia in the Community Dwelling Elderly: A Systematic Review. Journal of Nutritional Health and Aging, 20 (8), 806-815.

Speyer, R., Cordier, R., Kim, J-H., Cocks, N., Michou, E. & Wilkes-Gillan, S. (2019). Prevalence of drooling, swallowing, and feeding problems in cerebral palsy across the lifespan: a systematic review and meta-analyses. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.14316

Cochrane Reviews

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. Search the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Dai Y. , Li,  C., Xie,  Y., Liu, X., Zhang, J., Zhou, J., Pan, X. & Yang, S.(2014) . Interventions for dysphagia in oesophageal cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 10. CD005048.

Deane K., Whurr,  R., Clarke,  C. E., Playford,  E. D., Ben‐Shlomo,  Y. et al. (2001) Non-pharmacological therapies for dysphagia in Parkinson's disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 1. CD002816. 

Furness,  S., Bryan,  G., McMillan,  R., Birchenough,  S., Worthington,  H.V.(2013)  Interventions for the management of dry mouth: non-pharmacological interventions. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 9. CD009603.

Gantasala, S. Sullivan , P. B., Thomas,  A. G. (2013) Gastrostomy feeding versus oral feeding alone for children with cerebral palsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 7. CD003943.

Geeganage, C., Beavan,  J., Ellender,  S. & Bath,  P. M. W. (2012). Interventions for dysphagia and nutritional support in acute and subacute stroke. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 10. CD000323.

Gomes Jr, C.A.R., Andriolo,  R. B., Bennett,  C., Lustosa,  S. A. S., Matos,  D., Waisberg,  D. R. & Waisberg,  J. (2015).   Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy versus nasogastric tube feeding for adults with swallowing disturbances. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 5. CD008096.

Jones K., Pitceathly,  R. D. S., Rose,  M. R., McGowan,  S., Hill,  M., Badrising,  U. A. & Hughes,  T. (2016). Interventions for dysphagia in long-term, progressive muscle disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 2. CD004303.

Katzberg, H.D. & Benatar, M. Enteral tube feeding for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 1. CD004030.

Morgan, A.T., Dodrill,  P. & Ward,  E.C. (2012). Interventions for oropharyngeal dysphagia in children with neurological impairment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 10. CD009456.

Perel, P., Yanagawa,  T., Bunn,  F., Roberts,  I. G. & Wentz,  R. (2006). Nutritional support for head-injured patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 4. CD001530.

Regan, J., Murphy,  A., Chiang,  M., McMahon,  B. P., Coughlan , T. & Walshe,  M. (2014).  Botulinum toxin for upper oesophageal sphincter dysfunction in neurological swallowing disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 5. CD009968.

Sampson, E.L., Candy,  B. & Jones,  L. (2009). Enteral tube feeding for older people with advanced dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 2. CD007209.

Walshe, M., Smith,  M. & Pennington,  L. (2012).  Interventions for drooling in children with cerebral palsy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 11. CD008624.

Xie, Y., Wang , L., He,  J. & Wu,  T. (2008).  Acupuncture for dysphagia in acute stroke. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 3. CD006076.

Journal articles

Bray, B. D., Smith, C. J., Cloud, G. C., Enderby, P., James, M., Paley, L., Tyrell, P. J., Wolfe, C. D. A. & Rudd, A. G. (2016). The association between delays in screening for and assessing dysphagia after acute stroke, and the risk of stroke-associated pneumonia. Cerebrovascular Disease, 88 (1), 25-30.

Cockerill, H., Van Den Engel-Hoek, L. & Harding, C. (2016). Assessing children's swallowing: Parent and professional perceptions. Tizard Learning Disability Review, 21 (3), 17–125.

Harding, C.& Cockerill, H. (2015). Managing eating and drinking difficulties (dysphagia) with children who have learning disabilities: What is effective? Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 20 (3), 395–405.

Molfenter, S. M., Hsu, C., Lu, Y. & Lazarus, C. L. (2017). Alterations to Swallowing Physiology as the Result of Effortful Swallowing in Healthy Seniors. Dysphagia,

Nund, R. L., Ward, E. C., Scarinci, N. A., Cartmill, B., Kuipers, P. & Porceddu, S. V. (2014). Survivors' experiences of dysphagia-related services following head and neck cancer: implications for clinical practice. International Journals of Language and Communication Disorders, 49 (3), 354-363.

van den Engel-Hoek, L., Harding, C., van Gerven, M. & Cockerill, H. (2017). Pediatric feeding and swallowing rehabilitation: An overview. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, 10 (2), 95–105.

Vogels, B., Cartwright, J. & Cocks, N. (2015). The bedside assessment practices of speech-language pathologists in adult dysphagia. International Journal of Speech and Language Pathology, 17 (4), 390-400.

Research impact case studies

The following case studies were submitted to the Research Excellence Framework in 2014:

Design and implementation of a new treatment for dysphagia after stroke, University of Manchester.

Improvements to quality of life and safety for people with swallowing difficulties following analysis of fluid thickeners, University College London.

Find a full list of case studies relevant to speech and language therapy in our Research Centre.

Research priorities

The RCSLT, in collaboration with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), has determined the top priorities for new research in dysphagia and speech and language therapy. Read our summary here.

James Lind Alliance. Preterm Birth.

James Lind Alliance. (2011). Stroke in Scotland.

James Lind Alliance. Palliative and end of life care.