Dysphagia and Stroke

Dysphagia and Stroke

By Annie Sanford, RN, BSN
Stroke Clinical Effectiveness Coordinator

Gulp! 

Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is a common challenge for stroke survivors.  Up to 78% of stroke patients will experience some degree of dysphagia with those patients being 7 times more likely to develop aspiration pneumonia.  Aspiration occurs when, instead of being swallowed, food or beverages are inhaled into the lungs.  This can lead to pneumonia and possibly death. 

It is vital to follow the swallowing modifications and exercise recommendations provided by your Speech Therapist to enhance recovery after stroke and to prevent further complications. Before leaving the hospital a game plan will be created to ensure you can swallow safely and continue to enjoy favorite foods.  Recommendations may be provided to optimize your nutrition which also supports recovery. 

Dysphagia tends to be one of the first challenges facing patients and their care partners upon going home.  The American Stroke Association has some helpful tips for living with dysphagia. The National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders (NFOSD) is also a great resource.

For more information about stroke visit www.swedish.org/stroke or call the Swedish Stroke Program at 206-320-3200

Comments
jonathan waller
Thank you for this post Dysphagia has such a huge impact on our patients. Clinical and patient awareness is key.
10/27/2013 1:04:57 AM
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About the Author

Annie Sanford, RN, BSN

Annie Sanford, RN, BSN
Stroke Clinical Effectiveness Coordinator

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