J Korean Dysphagia Soc.  2021 Jan;11(1):43-51. 10.34160/jkds.2021.11.1.006.

Effectiveness of Formal Dysphagia Screening for Stroke Patients

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Neurology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Early identification of dysphagia after stroke helps in preventing aspiration pneumonia. However, data are limited regarding the effectiveness of formal dysphagia screening for reducing the risk of aspiration pneumonia. The current study evaluates the effectiveness of formal dysphagia screening in stroke patients, to prevent future episodes of aspiration pneumonia.
The stroke registry of a tertiary hospital was retrospectively reviewed. We compared clinical variables and the incidence of aspiration pneumonia of patients hospitalized between 2014 and 2015 after formal screening was implemented, and patients hospitalized in 2011 when no established dysphagia screening protocol was in place. Additionally, we identified the incidence of pneumonia according to stroke severity, and evaluated the association with results obtained for incidence of pneumonia and dysphagia screening.
A total of 2,902 patients were identified to have suffered acute stroke (2,018 who underwent formal dysphagia screening; 884 without screening). Patients with formal dysphagia screening developed pneumonia less frequently than patients not administered screening (1.3% with formal screening vs. 3.4% no formal screening, P<0.001). Pneumonia was significantly lower in patients with moderate and severe stroke who underwent formal dysphagia screening. Furthermore, failure of the dysphagia screening test, presentation with severe dysarthria, and conditions where dysarthria could not be evaluated, were independent predictors of pneumonia among patients who underwent formal screening.
Our findings demonstrate the association of formal dysphagia screening with reduced risk of poststroke aspiration pneumonia, and indicates the efficacy of the procedure in identifying patients at higher risk of contracting pneumonia.


Dysphagia; Screening; Stroke; Pneumonia; Aspiration
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