2003 Volume 40 Issue 2 Pages 130-134
Dysphagia is a commmon comlication after stroke, being reproted in 30-50% in acute stage patients. It is also critical that dysphagia may occure 3 to 5 days after onset because of brain edema, so clinicians must be careful to treat stroke patients with close observation. Especially elderly patients with dysphagia have a high risk of aspiration peumonia, which might be life threatening condition for them. Dysphagia generally recovers spontaneously and frequency of the chronic stage cases is thought to be less 6%.
The 30ml water swallow test is used to screen dysphagia. If cough or some symptom of aspiration such as wet voice or breathing difficulties are seen, dysphagia is strongly suspected. Oral care is essential and diet modification and rehabilitation techiques are applied. Fiberoptic evaluation or fluoroscopic examination is recommended for severe dysphagia. The treatment plan should be established according to the pathological conditions. The goal of dysphagia management is to prevent aspiration pneumonia, dehaydration and malnutition. If swallowing difficulties continue, alternative nutrition, PEG or intermittent tube feeding, could be helpfull. Multidisciplinary team approach should be adopted for dysphagia management.