Scripties UMCG - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
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Prevalence and characterization of dysphagia in hospitalized patients

(2018) Spronk. L.E.J.

Dysphagia has been defined as a difficulty swallowing and has potentially severe
complications. Information on the prevalence of dysphagia in a generalized hospitalized
population is lacking, as well as information on the recognition of dysphagia by nursing staff
and the swallow characteristics of patients with and without dysphagia. The Eating
Assessment Tool (EAT-10) and the Volume-Viscosity water Swallow Test (V-VST) were
utilized to assess the prevalence of dysphagia in a generalized hospitalized population
(N=147). Presence of dysphagia was defined as having either an EAT-10 score of 2 or higher
or having a positive V-VST. Nursing staff recognition of dysphagia was assessed. In addition,
the swallow characteristics were assessed using submandibular surface electromyographic
(SEMG) values of the participants. The prevalence of dysphagia in the hospitalized patients
was 25.2%. Admission to the pulmonology ward was associated with increased occurrence of
dysphagia. Nursing staff recognition of the presence of dysphagia was low with a sensitivity
of 5.4%. Concerning the swallow characteristics, patients without dysphagia demonstrate an
improvement in swallowing actions, demonstrated by an increase in the SEMG peak level of
the swallowing actions over the course of an exercise, whereas patients with dysphagia do not
demonstrate this effect. Training should be conducted for nursing staff to improve awareness
and recognition of dysphagia and thus prevent dysphagia complications. Dysphagia is a large
burden on the hospitalized population and further research should be conducted into the

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