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Dysphagia. 2014 Oct;29(5):545-52. doi: 10.1007/s00455-014-9543-8. Epub 2014 Jun 20.

The one-year attributable cost of post-stroke dysphagia.

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Department of Health Sciences and Research, Medical University of South Carolina, 77 President St, Charleston, SC, 29425, USA,


With the recent emphasis on evidence-based practice and healthcare reform, understanding the cost of dysphagia management has never been more important. It is helpful for clinicians to understand and objectively report the costs associated with dysphagia when they advocate for their services in this economy. Having carefully estimated cost of illness, inputs are needed for cost-effectiveness analyses that help support the value of treatments. This study sought to address this issue by examining the 1-year cost associated with a diagnosis of dysphagia post-stroke in South Carolina. Furthermore, this study investigated whether ethnicity and residence differences exist in the cost of dysphagia post-stroke. Data on 3,200 patients in the South Carolina Medicare database from 2004 who had ICD-9 codes for ischemic stroke, 434 and 436, were retrospectively included in this study. Differences between persons with and without dysphagia post-stroke were compared with respect to age, gender, ethnicity, mortality, length of stay, comorbidity, rurality, discharge disposition, and cost to Medicare. Univariate analyses and a gamma-distributed generalized linear multivariable model with a log link function were completed. We found that the 1-year cost to Medicare for persons with dysphagia post ischemic stroke was $4,510 higher than that for persons without dysphagia post ischemic stroke when controlling for age, comorbidities, ethnicity, and proportion of time alive. Univariate analysis revealed that rurality, ethnicity, and gender were not statistically significantly different in comparisons of individuals with or without dysphagia post-stroke. Post-stroke dysphagia significantly increases post-stroke medical expenses. Understanding the expenditures associated with post-stroke dysphagia is helpful for optimal allocation and use of resources. Such information is needed to conduct cost-effectiveness studies.

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