Pneumonia in stroke patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia: a six-month follow-up study

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The aim of the study was to estimate the frequency of pneumonia and to determine the risk factors for this complication in poststroke patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD). We prospectively followed up 67 patients (mean age 72.9±12.2 years) in the first 6 months after stroke, during which time we recorded gender, stroke side, type of lesion, diabetes, history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), smoking, level of consciousness, functional outcome, dietary history, occurrence of chest infection, and death. Degree of OD and presence/absence of reflex cough was assessed by Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing. Sixty patients showed complete recovery of prestroke swallowing; 9 (13.4% IC 95%=5-20%) developed pneumonia, two of whom died. The first episode of pneumonia occurred in all nine patients within the first month after stroke onset. The pneumonia was associated with absence of reflex cough after swallow, COPD, and severe impairment of consciousness and poor functional outcome.

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