Dysphagia. 2018 Jul 24. doi: 10.1007/s00455-018-9926-3. [Epub ahead of print]
Swallowing evaluations are often delayed at least 24 h following extubation with the assumption that swallow function improves over time. The purpose of this prospective cohort study was to determine if dysphagia, as measured by aspiration and need for diet modification, declines over the first 24-h post-extubation, whereby providing evidence-based evaluation guidelines for this population. Forty-nine patients completed FEES at 2-4 h post-extubation and 24-26 h post-extubation. We compared Penetration-Aspiration Scale scores and diet recommendation between time points. Multivariable logistic regression models were created to investigate associations between age, reason for admission, reason for intubation, and a history of COPD and outcomes of aspiration or silent aspiration at either FEES exam. Sixty-nine percent of participants safely swallowed at least one texture without aspiration at 2-4 h post-extubation. Within participants, there was a significant decrease in penetration/aspiration at 24 h and 79% showed improvement in airway protection on at least one bolus type, suggesting an improvement in swallow function over the first day following extubation. These findings suggest that although patients may be safe to begin a modified diet soon after extubation, delaying evaluation until 24-h post-extubation may allow for a less restricted diet.