Factors Associated With Gastrostomy Tube Removal in Patients With Dysphagia After Stroke: A Review of the Literature

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Gastrostomy feeding tubes are commonly placed in patients with dysphagia after stroke. The subsequent removal of the tube is a primary goal during rehabilitation. The purpose of our review was to identify predictors and factors associated with gastrostomy tube removal in patients with dysphagia after stroke. We conducted a literature review following the PRISMA statement and included the search databases PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and CINAHL. Articles were included in the final analysis per predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Our search retrieved a total of 853 results consisting of 416 articles (after eliminating duplicates). Six articles met our final eligibility criteria. The following factors were identified in at least 1 article as being significantly associated with gastrostomy tube removal: reduced age, decreased number of comorbidities, prolonged inpatient rehabilitation stay, absence of bilateral stroke, nonhemorrhagic stroke, reduced dysphagia severity, absence of aspiration, absence of premature bolus loss, and timely initiation of pharyngeal swallow. Aspiration was the only factor that was investigated by 2 studies—both using multiple regression and both showing stable results, with absence of aspiration increasing the chances for tube removal. In conclusion, little is known about factors associated with gastrostomy tube removal in patients with dysphagia after stroke. Most of the identified factors are associated with stroke or disease severity; however, the role of the individual factors remains unclear. The strongest predictor appears to be absence of aspiration on modified barium swallow studies emphasizing the importance of instrumental swallow studies in this patient population.

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