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Ann Rehabil Med. 2016 Jun;40(3):432-9. doi: 10.5535/arm.2016.40.3.432. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

Characteristics of Dysphagia in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Patients: A Comparison With Stroke Patients.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Gangwon-Do Rehabilitation Hospital, Chuncheon, Korea.



To compare the swallowing characteristics of dysphagic patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) with those of dysphagic stroke patients.


Forty-one patients with TBI were selected from medical records (between December 2004 to March 2013) and matched to patients with stroke (n=41) based on age, sex, and disease duration. Patients' swallowing characteristics were analyzed retrospectively using a videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS) and compared between both groups. Following thorough review of medical records, patients who had a history of diseases that could affect swallowing function at the time of the study were excluded. Dysphagia characteristics and severity were evaluated using the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association National Outcome Measurement System swallowing scale, clinical dysphagia scale, and the videofluoroscopic dysphagia scale.


There was a significant difference in radiological lesion location (p=0.024) between the two groups. The most common VFSS finding was aspiration or penetration, followed by decreased laryngeal elevation and reduced epiglottis inversion. Swallowing function, VFSS findings, or quantified dysphagia severity showed no significant differences between the groups. In a subgroup analysis of TBI patients, the incidence of tube feeding was higher in patients with surgical intervention than in those without (p=0.011).


The swallowing characteristics of dysphagic patients after TBI were comparable to those of dysphagic stroke patients. Common VFSS findings comprised aspiration or penetration, decreased laryngeal elevation, and reduced epiglottis inversion. Patients who underwent surgical intervention after TBI were at high risk of tube feeding requirement.


Brain injuries; Deglutition; Deglutition disorders; Fluoroscopy

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