Research  |   November 1997
Clinical Assessment of Swallowing and Prediction of Dysphagia Severity
Author Notes
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders
Research   |   November 1997
Clinical Assessment of Swallowing and Prediction of Dysphagia Severity
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology November 1997, Vol.6, 17-24. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0604.17
History: Accepted 04 Sep 1997 , Received 07 Jul 1997
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology November 1997, Vol.6, 17-24. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0604.17
History: Accepted 04 Sep 1997 , Received 07 Jul 1997

Dysphagia with aspiration is prevalent in acute stroke; however, noninvasive clinical screening assessments to identify patients at risk of developing aspiration are limited. This study was undertaken to determine whether risk factors detected in the clinical examination approximated the videofluoroscopic swallow study (VSS) in identification of dysphagia severity. Six clinical features—dysphonia, dysarthria, abnormal volitional cough, abnormal gag reflex, cough after swallow, and voice change after swallow—were assessed by means of an oropharyngeal evaluation and a clinical swallowing examination. Clinical assessments and VSS were completed on consecutive stroke patients (n=59) within 5 days of hospital admission. The VSS was scored on a scale of 0 to 4 (0=normal, 1=mild, 2=moderate, 3=moderate-severe, 4=severe dysphagia). Results showed that the presence of at least 2 of the 6 clinical features consistently distinguished patients with moderate to severe dysphagia from patients with mild dysphagia/normal swallowing. These data demonstrate that this clinical dysphagia screening tool can provide objective criteria for the need for VSS in acute stroke patients.

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