The impact of dysphagia
Dysphagia is reportedly present in >70% of patients after a stroke and more than doubles the risk of malnutrition.1 Patients suffering from dysphagia have a higher chance of becoming dehydrated. Another common complication of dysphagia is aspiration, which may lead to aspiration pneumonia and poor outcomes. Dysphagia can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful for the patient.
Malnutrition following stroke
Malnutrition is estimated to affect between 6.1-62% of stroke patients2 with the risk increasing in patients during their stay in hospital.3 Causes of malnutrition include reduced food intake, dysphagia, loss of appetite, fatigue, medication side-effects and anxiety. Consequences for the patient include weight loss, a reduction in muscle strength, increased risk of falls and infection, and reduced quality of life. Stroke patients suffering from malnutrition also have poor hospital outcomes with increased length of stay, a greater risk of mortality and higher healthcare costs.4