Chewing ability and desaturation during chewing in patients with COPD

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Takeshi Terashima *
Takahiro Nakajima
Tatsu Matsuzaki
Eri Iwami
Takeo Shibui
Takeshi Nomura
Akira Katakura
(*) Corresponding Author:
Takeshi Terashima |


Chewing ability is essential to maintain nutrition status and can be associated with oral conditions, sarcopenia, and lung function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Herein, our pilot study investigated the chewing ability and degree of desaturation during chewing in patients with COPD (n = 41) and control subjects (n = 22). Subjects chewed a color-changing chewing gum for 1 minute and chewing ability was assessed by the color of the chewed gum, which was scored from 1 (very poor) to 5 (very good). Arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) was monitored using a pulse oximeter and the difference in SpO2 was determined by comparison between before and during chewing. The mean color score of the chewed gum was lower in the COPD group than in the control group (3.1±0.7 vs 4.2±0.9, p<0.0001). Muscle mass loss (p<0.05), <20 remaining teeth (p<0.005), and COPD (p<0.001) were risk factors for poor chewing ability. The mean SpO2 decreased by 0.78±1.46% during gum chewing for 1 min. The mean SpO2 during gum chewing (95.1±2.4%) was lower than before gum chewing (95.9±1.7%) (p<0.05). The reduction of SpO2 was greater in COPD patients who had fewer remaining teeth (p<0.05). COPD patients with SpO2 reduction >4% during the 6-minute walk test showed greater reduction during gum chewing (p<0.05). Our results suggest that COPD patients with fewer remaining teeth exhibit poor chewing ability and greater desaturation during chewing.

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