ORIGINAL RESEARCH| Volume 102, ISSUE 11, P2165-2171, November 2021

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Association Between the Swallowing Reflex and the Incidence of Aspiration Pneumonia in Patients With Dysphagia Admitted to Long-term Care Wards: A Prospective Cohort Study of 60 Days



      To investigate the association between the Simple Swallowing Provocation Test (SSPT) and the incidence of aspiration pneumonia in patients with dysphagia in long-term care (LTC) wards.


      The study design was a prospective cohort study. Participants were followed for 60 days from admission.


      LTC wards.


      Study participants were patients with dysphagia aged ≥65 years who were admitted to LTC wards between August 2018 and August 2019. In total, 39 participants were included in the analysis (N=39; 20 male, 19 female; mean age, 83.8±8.5y). Participants were divided into 2 groups based on SSPT results: normal swallowing reflex (SSPT normal group) and abnormal swallowing reflex (SSPT abnormal group). The covariates were age and sex, primary disease, history of cerebrovascular disease, Glasgow Coma Scale, body mass index, Geriatric Nutritional Risk Index, the Mann Assessment of Swallowing Ability, Food Intake Level Scale, FIM, and Oral Health Assessment Tool.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The outcome was the incidence of aspiration pneumonia during the first 60 days of hospitalization, and the predictive factor was SSPT: 0.4 mL.


      The incidence of aspiration pneumonia was 33.3% in the SSPT normal group and 76.2% in the SSPT abnormal group. The φ coefficient (a measure of association for 2 binary variables) was 0.43, the risk ratio (the ratio of the probability of an outcome in an exposed group to the probability of an outcome in an unexposed group) was 2.29, and the 95% confidence interval was 1.14-4.58 for the SSPT abnormal group.


      Our findings suggest that the SSPT provides a valid index for the development of aspiration pneumonia in older patients with dysphagia admitted to LTC wards.


      List of abbreviations:

      ADL (activities of daily living), CI (confidence interval), LTC (long-term care), MASA (Mann Assessment of Swallowing Ability), SSPT (Simple Swallowing Provocation Test)
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