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J Bras Pneumol. 2011 Mar-Apr;37(2):176-83.

Symptoms of dysphagia in patients with COPD.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Reabilitação, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.



To identify symptoms of dysphagia in individuals with COPD, based on their responses on a self-perception questionnaire.


The study comprised 35 individuals with COPD and 35 healthy individuals, matched for age and gender. The study group was assessed regarding COPD severity; sensation of dyspnea; body mass index (BMI); and symptoms of dysphagia. The control group was assessed regarding BMI and symptoms of dysphagia.


The most common symptoms of dysphagia in the study group were pharyngeal symptoms/airway protection (p < 0.001); esophageal symptoms/history of pneumonia (p < 0.001); and nutritional symptoms (p < 0.001). Positive correlations were found between the following pairs of variables: FEV₁ and BMI (r = 0.567; p < 0.001); pharyngeal symptoms/airway protection and dyspnea (r = 0.408; p = 0.015); and esophageal symptoms/history of pneumonia and pharyngeal symptoms/airway protection (r = 0.531; p = 0.001). There was a negative correlation between nutritional symptoms and BMI (r = -0.046; p < 0.008).


Our results show that the individuals with COPD presented with symptoms of dysphagia that were associated with the pharyngeal and esophageal phases of swallowing, as well as with the mechanism of airway protection, a history of pneumonia, and nutritional symptoms.

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