Long term outcome after stroke : does dysphagia matter?
Background: swallowing problems (dysphagia) are common following acute stroke and are independent predictors of short-term outcome. It is uncertain as to whether these swallowing problems are associated with outcome in the longer-term. Aim: insert to determine whether dysphagia present in the first week of acute stroke is associated with long-term outcome. Methods: a population-based long-term follow-up of people with first in a life-time stroke. Dysphagia was assessed within 1 week of stroke and patients were followed up at 3 months and yearly for 5 years by face-to-face interview. Outcome was defined by survival and place of residence, using multinomial logistic regression. Barthel Scores were divided into the two groups 15-20 and 0-14, and modelled using multiple logistic regression. Results: there were 567 patients with dysphagia (mean age 74.3 years) and 621 with a safe swallow (mean age 69.6 years). Following multinomial logistic regression, residence in a nursing home was more likely to occur in those who failed the swallow test during the first week of their stroke; however, this only reached statistical significance at 3 months (relative risk ratio (RRR)= 1.73; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02 to 2.95), and years 4 (RRR 3.35, 1.37–8.19) and 5 (RRR 3.06, 1.06-8.83). There was also a significant association with increased mortality only during the first three months (RRR 2.03, 1.12 to 3.67). Conclusion: this study confirms that the presence of dysphagia during the acute phase of stroke is associated with poor outcome during the subsequent year, particularly at 3 months, and is associated with increased institutionalisation rate in the long term.