To investigate whether patterns of swallowing difficulties were associated with the location of the brain lesion, cognitive function, and severity of stroke in stroke patients.
Seventy-six patients with first-time acute stroke were included in the present investigation. Swallowing-related parameters, which were assessed videofluoroscopically, included impairment of lip closure, decreased tongue movement, amount of oral remnant, premature loss of food material, delay in oral transit time, laryngeal elevation, delay in pharyngeal triggering time, presence of penetration or aspiration, and the amount of vallecular and pyriform sinus remnants. The locations of brain lesions were classified into the frontal, parietotemporal, subcortical, medulla, pons, and cerebellum. The degree of cognitive impairment and the severity of stroke were assessed by the Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE) and the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), respectively.
An insufficient laryngeal elevation, the amount of pyriform sinus, and vallecular space remnant in addition to the incidence of aspiration were correlated with medullary infarction. Other swallowing parameters were not related to lesion topology. Lip closure dysfunction, decreased tongue movement, increased oral remnant and premature loss were associated with low MMSE scores. A delayed oral transit time were associated with NIHSS scores.
In-coordination of the lip, the tongue, and the oropharynx were associated with the degree of cognitive impairment and the stroke severity rather than with the location of the lesion, whereas incomplete laryngeal elevation and aspiration were predominant in medullary lesions.