Background: Parkinsonism (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorders into which dysphagia occurs mainly in the late stage and to a lesser extent in an early stage. Diagnosis of dysphagia particularly in early idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD) is important as dysphagia affects the quality of life of patients and most of the patients are unaware of this important symptom.

Method: Fifty-four patients were enrolled in this study presented with early IPD attending to the outpatient clinic of Sohag University Hospital. All PD patients were assessed by using Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and modified Hoehn and Yahr scale. IPD patients were classified into tremor dominant (TD) and postural instability/gait disorder (PIGD) phenotypes. Swallowing disturbance questionnaire (SDQ) and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) were used to evaluate dysphagia.

Results: Thirty-five percent of patients experienced dysphagia when the patients were questioned, and this percent rises to 40% on using FEES. The results of SDQ were significantly correlated to the results of more accurate FEES. The percentage of dysphagia was higher in patients with PIGD than TD phenotype. Dysphagia was significantly associated with the mean of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), UPDRS, and modified Hoehn and Yahr scale.

Conclusions: Dysphagia is a prevalent symptom in early IPD and significantly correlated with Parkinsonism phenotype,UPDRS, and modified Hoehn and Yahr scale.

Keywords: Parkinsonism, Dysphagia , Swallowing disturbance questionnaire, Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing