Weight loss and body mass index in relation to aspiration in patients treated for head and neck cancer: a long-term follow-up

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Persistent severe swallowing dysfunction with aspiration is a common and sometimes overlooked sequelae after treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) and may impact food intake and nutritional status. More knowledge is needed to increase the understanding of severe swallowing dysfunction as a risk factor for persistent nutritional deteriorations in SCCHN survivors. The purpose of the study was to investigate weight loss and body mass index (BMI) in relation to pharyngeal swallowing function in a long-term perspective in patients after SCCHN treatment. Data from 101 patients were available for the analyses. Swallowing function was assessed by videofluoroscopy at a mean of 71.6 months after the start of radiotherapy (RT). Percent weight change (calculated with weight at the start of RT as the reference) and BMI at follow-up were the primary nutritional measures. Aspiration was present in 48 of 101 patients (48 %). Patients with aspiration had a significantly higher mean weight loss and a lower BMI (-10.9 % and 23.1, respectively) at follow-up compared with patients without aspiration (-2.8 % and 26.0, respectively). Patients with aspiration were unable to gain weight after 23 months. Only ten of 101 patients (10 %) were underweight at follow-up. Swallowing dysfunction with aspiration was related to long-term weight loss and reduced BMI. Few patients were underweight despite the high prevalence of swallowing dysfunction.

Details

Authors
  • Sandra Ottosson
  • Ulrika Lindblom
  • Peter Wahlberg
  • Per Nilsson
  • Elisabeth Kjellén
  • Bjorn Zackrisson
  • Eva Levring Jaghagen
  • Goran Laurell
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology

Keywords

  • Fluoroscopy, Swallowing dysfunction, Head and neck cancer, Weight loss, Body mass index
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2361-2369
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume22
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes