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Orthopedics. 2016 Jan-Feb;39(1):e93-7. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20151222-07. Epub 2015 Dec 30.

Identifying the Risk of Swallowing-Related Pulmonary Complications in Older Patients With Hip Fracture.


To identify and potentially modify the risk of pulmonary complications in a group of older patients with hip fracture, the authors obtained speech and language pathology consultations for these patients. Then they performed a retrospective chart review of all patients 65 years and older who were admitted to their institution between June 2011 and July 2013 with acute hip fracture, were treated surgically, and had a speech and language pathology evaluation in the immediate perioperative period. The authors identified 52 patients who met the study criteria. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification system, at the time of surgery, 1 patient (2%) was classified as ASA I, 12 patients (23%) were ASA II, 26 (50%) were ASA III, and 12 (23%) were ASA IV. Based on a speech and language pathology evaluation, 22 patients (42%) were diagnosed with dysphagia. Statistical analysis showed that ASA III status and ASA IV status were meaningful predictors of dysphagia and that dysphagia itself was a strong risk factor for pulmonary aspiration, pneumonia, and aspiration pneumonitis. Evaluation by a speech and language pathologist, particularly of patients classified as ASA III or ASA IV, may be an efficient means of averting pulmonary morbidity that is common in older patients with hip fracture.

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