Cerebrovascular disease is recognized as to be associated with the highest mortality rate in Brazil. Dysphagia, speech and language disturbances are common consequences of the high incidence of stroke. Dysphagia is known to occur in at least 50% of the patients with acute stroke. The study is designed to stablish the incidence of stroke in a reference hospital. One hundred and two consecutive patients admitted between January 2001 and January 2002 underwent a neurological examination with dysphagia specific analysis, performed by speech/dysphagia professionals as soon as they have clinical conditions. The localization of the lesions are determined by computer tomography or magnetic resonance image of the brain. Sixty one patients underwent videofluorscopic evaluation of swallowing. There was detected oropharyngeal dysphagia in 78 patients (76.5%) if the examination was limited to the clinical evaluation. Neverthless, if complemented by videofluorscopic evaluation, the incidence grows to 90%. The explanation for the high incidence observed in this study could be pointed to the fact that dysphagia was registered on different times of the convalescence period. The data reinforces the importance of repeated evaluations made by different professionals of the sttaff involved in acute stroke attendance.
Key words: epidemiology, oropharyngeal dysphagia, stroke.