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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002 Jun;50(6):1118-23.

Prevalence of impaired swallowing in institutionalized older people in taiwan.

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Institute of Clinical Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, 115 Li-Nong Street, Section 2, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.



To investigate the prevalence of impaired swallowing in residents at long-term care facilities (LTCFs) in Taiwan.


A chart review, a structured questionnaire completed at interview, a neurological examination, and a timed swallowing test were used to assess impairment and to gather demographic data.


Nine skilled nursing facilities and nine intermediate-care facilities in metropolitan Taipei.


One thousand two hundred twenty-one conscious and unconscious residents with a mean age of 77.07.


Impaired swallowing was defined when a subject met two or more of the following criteria: self-report of swallowing difficulty, a score of 2 or more derived from a swallowing questionnaire combined with a neurological examination investigating symptoms and signs of impairment, and coughing/choking during a timed swallowing test or a measured swallowing rate (volume swallowed per second) below the 10th percentile as derived from a gender-based study of an older community in Taipei.


Of the 1,221 subjects, 356 (29.2%) were fed by tube. The prevalence rates for impaired swallowing as estimated were 97.5% and 31.9% for tube-fed and non-tube-fed subjects respectively, whereas the overall prevalence for tube-fed and non-tube-fed subjects altogether was 51.0%.


The findings may serve to increase awareness of this problem among healthcare professionals in LTCFs. Further research is contemplated to investigate whether early identification makes a difference in treatment choices and outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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