CONTEXT: Stroke is a frequent cause of dysphagia.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate in a tertiary care hospital the prevalence of swallowing dysfunction in stroke patients, to analyze factors associated with the dysfunction and to relate swallowing dysfunction to mortality 3 months after the stroke.
METHODS: Clinical evaluation of deglutition was performed in 212 consecutive patients with a medical and radiologic diagnosis of stroke. The occurrence of death was determined 3 months after the stroke.
RESULTS: It was observed that 63% of the patients had swallowing dysfunction. The variables gender and specific location of the lesion were not associated with the presence or absence of swallowing dysfunction. The patients with swallowing dysfunction had more frequently a previous stroke, had a stroke in the left hemisphere, motor and/or sensitivity alterations, difficulty in oral comprehension, alteration of oral expression, alteration of the level of consciousness, complications such as fever and pneumonia, high indexes on the Rankin scale, and low indexes on the Barthel scale. These patients had a higher mortality rate.
CONCLUSIONS: Swallowing evaluation should be done in all patients with stroke, since swallowing dysfunction is associated with complications and an increased risk of death.
Headings: Stroke. Deglutition disorders.