Screening oropharyngeal dysphagia in hospitalized older adults: A prevalent problem associated with mortality

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Objective: Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) is a common but
underdiagnosed syndrome among older adults. The aim of this
study was to assess the prevalence of OD in hospitalized older
adults by using ten-item Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10) and the
relationship between mortality and OD.
Patients and Methods: Patients aged over 65 years admitted
to an internal medicine inpatient clinic of a university hospital
in Turkey were enrolled in the study. The number of drugs, the
number of chronic diseases, routes of feeding (oral, parenteral,
or both), length of hospital stay, albumin levels on admission day,
and mortality status of the patients were recorded by a physician.
The EAT-10 questionnaire was administered to all patients for OD.
Results: One hundred and thirty-six patients (54.4% female)
were enrolled in the study. Their mean age was 74.6±6.6 years.
The prevalence of OD in hospitalized older adults was 23%. The
mortality rates were significantly higher in the dysphagic subjects
as compared to the non-dysphagic ones (25.8% vs.10.5%; p=0.041).
The number of patients with malignancy was significantly higher
in the dysphagic group as compared to the non-OD subjects (41.9%
vs.20%; p=0.018).
Conclusion: OD is a geriatric syndrome and should be
screened and treated in all geriatric patients in hospitals. It will
improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
Keywords: Hospitalization, Older patients, Oropharyngeal
dysphagia, Screening, Mortality

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