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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 May;27(10):971-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03664.x. Epub 2008 Feb 28.

Dysphagia: epidemiology, risk factors and impact on quality of life--a population-based study.

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School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



Data on the population epidemiology of dysphagia are scarce. Little is known about the prevalence, risk factors and impact on quality of life of dysphagia in the general community.


To determine the magnitude and impact of dysphagia in the general community.


A random sample of 1000 individuals of Sydney, Australia, were mailed a validated self-report questionnaire to assess dysphagia. Measured were dysphagia symptoms, potential mechanisms, risk factors, psychological disorders, quality of life and demographics.


The response rate of included subjects (n = 926) was 73% (n = 672). Dysphagia ever was reported by 16% (n = 110). Multiple logistic regression analysis found that odynophagia was independently associated with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (OR = 3.41, 95% CI: 1.16-10.04). Intermittent dysphagia was independently associated with GERD (OR = 2.96, 95% CI: 1.76-4.98) and anxiety (OR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.01-1.19). The presence of progressive dysphagia was independently associated with depression (OR = 1.34, 95% CI: 1.07-1.67). Progressive dysphagia was independently associated with reduced 'general health' (OR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.90-0.99), while intermittent dysphagia was associated with a reduction in the 'role physical' subscale (OR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.97-0.99).


Dysphagia is remarkably common in the general population. GERD is a risk factor for dysphagia as well as odynophagia. Intermittent dysphagia was associated with anxiety, while progressive dysphagia was associated with depression.

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