Continuum theory: presbyphagia to dysphagia? Functional assessment of swallowing in the elderly.

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de Lima Alvarenga EH1, Dall’Oglio GP2, Murano EZ3, Abrahão M2.

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Nov 9. doi: 10.1007/s00405-017-4801-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether disclosed symptoms (coughing, choking and throat clearing) can be used as early predictors of swallowing disorders in non-hospitalized elderly population. In addition, to determine the presence of early findings of swallowing disorders through fiber optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred subjects older than 60 years were recruited from local community social meetings for seniors, they fulfilled inclusion criteria, and were given an oral interview and underwent FEES, with findings classified as: (1) saliva stasis; (2) pharyngeal residue; (3) penetration; (4) aspiration; (5) laryngeal sensitivity.
RESULTS: Twenty-one percent of subjects declared previous choking, 10% coughing, and 7% throat clearing, 39% had pharyngeal residue; 6% saliva stasis; 9% penetration; 2% aspiration; and 92% laryngeal sensitivity present. Thirty-three percent showed pharyngeal residue without saliva stasis, while only 6% showed positivity for both (p = 0.003).
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that health care professionals should be aware that among an apparently healthy population, some subjects may have swallowing disorders without clinical complaints and that a nasolaryngoscopy exam may not be enough to predict dysphagia. We suggest that FEES should be performed to look for surrogate of dysphagia such as pharyngeal residue, laryngeal penetration, and aspiration.

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