Swallowing disturbance pattern relates to brain lesion location in acute stroke patients

Steinhagen V, Grossmann A, Benecke R, Walter U.

Stroke. 2009 May;40(5):1903-6. Epub 2009 Mar 12.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

The relationship of brain lesion location and swallowing disturbance pattern has been poorly studied in acute stroke patients.

METHODS:

Sixty patients with first-ever acute ischemic stroke at clearly assessed location and clinical signs of dysphagia were studied. Swallowing-related parameters rated clinically and fiberendoscopically were attention deficit, buccofacial apraxia, orofacial paresis, gag reflex, delay of pharyngeal swallow, pharyngeal contraction, larynx elevation, function of upper esophageal sphincter (UES), and aspiration severity.

RESULTS:

Attention deficit was independently predicted only by parietotemporal infarction, buccofacial apraxia by left-sided parietotemporal infarction, orofacial paresis by infarction encompassing upper motor neuron of cranial nerves, and impaired UES opening by lateral medullary infarction. Other swallowing parameters were not related to lesion topology. On posthoc analysis, pneumonia within 21 days after stroke was predicted only by insular lesion.

CONCLUSIONS:

Distinct acute brain lesion locations result in characteristic swallowing disturbance patterns. Dysphagic patients with insular stroke appear to have even higher risk of pneumonia suggesting a further associated factor promoting infection in these subjects.

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