Treatment of dysphagia improves nutritional conditions in stroke patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Dysphagia is a common symptom in stroke patients, and malnutrition is prevalent among these patients. Thus far, nutritional effects of dysphagic treatment have not been evaluated. The aim of the present report was to study the effects of swallowing techniques on nutritional and anthropometric variables. A survey with follow-up was performed at the Departments of Geriatric Medicine and Neurology, Malmo University Hospital, Sweden. Thirty-eight stroke patients, 53-89 years of age, with subjective complaints of dysphagia and oral/pharyngeal dysfunction according to videofluoroscopic barium swallowing examination (VSBE), were given swallowing treatment. The treatment included oral motor exercise, different swallowing techniques, positioning, and diet modification. Plasma protein levels, body composition, VSBE, and a viso-analogical scale for subjective complaints were repeated before and after treatment. At baseline, 94% of cases had signs of penetration and 50-72% had plasma protein levels below recommended levels. Treatment reduced the degree of oral dysfunction, (dissociation) and pharyngeal dysfunction (penetration and constrictor paresis). Sixty percent of cases showed an improved overall VSBE score, and improved levels of albumin and total iron-binding capacity were restricted to this group. In cases with unchanged or decreased VSBE score, body weight was reduced and a negative correlation to total iron-binding capacity was noted (r = -0.60, p < 0.05). Changes of subjective complaints did not correlate with swallowing function or nutritional improvements. Swallowing treatment improves swallowing function, and improved swallowing function is associated with improvements in nutritional parameters. Subjective complaints is not sufficient to evaluate the clinical course, and nutritional parameters should be monitored in patients with oral or pharyngeal dysfunction.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
  • Surgery
  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences


  • Dysphagia, Swallowing, Stroke, Nutrition, Treatment, Swallow maneuvers, Deglutition, Deglutition disorders
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-66
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Geriatric Medicine (013040040), Medical Radiology Unit (013241410), Reconstructive Surgery (013240300)