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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2007 Nov;116(11):858-65.

Dysphagia in the elderly: preliminary evidence of prevalence, risk factors, and socioemotional effects.

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1
Dept of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Utah, 390 South 1530 East, Room 1219, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0252, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Epidemiological studies of dysphagia in the elderly are rare. A non-treatment-seeking, elderly cohort was surveyed to provide preliminary evidence regarding the prevalence, risks, and socioemotional effects of swallowing disorders.

METHODS:

Using a prospective, cross-sectional survey design, we interviewed 117 seniors living independently in Utah and Kentucky (39 men and 78 women; mean age, 76.1 years; SD, 8.5 years; range, 65 to 94 years) regarding 4 primary areas related to swallowing disorders: lifetime and current prevalence, symptoms and signs, risk and protective factors, and socioemotional consequences.

RESULTS:

The lifetime prevalence of a swallowing disorder was 38%, and 33% of the participants reported a current problem. Most seniors with dysphagia described a sudden onset with chronic problems that had persisted for at least 4 weeks. Stepwise logistic regression identified 3 primary symptoms uniquely associated with a history of swallowing disorders: taking a longer time to eat (odds ratio [OR], 9.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3 to 40.2); coughing, throat clearing, or choking before, during, or after eating (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.1 to 10.2); and a sensation of food stuck in the throat (OR, 5.2; 95% CI, 1.8 to 10.0). Stroke (p = .02), esophageal reflux (p = .003), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (p = .05), and chronic pain (p = .03) were medical conditions associated with a history of dysphagia. Furthermore, dysphagia produced numerous adverse socioemotional effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides preliminary evidence to suggest that chronic swallowing disorders are common among the elderly, and highlights the need for larger epidemiological studies of these disorders.

PMID:
18074673
DOI:
10.1177/000348940711601112
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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