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Dysphagia screening post-stroke: systematic review


Background/scope Stroke is one of the main causes of death, especially when associated with dysphagia. Hence, the assessment of nutritional status and aspiration risk is important to improve clinical outcomes. The aim of this systematic review is to identify which are the most suitable dysphagia screening tools in chronic post-stroke patients.

Methodology A systematic literature search was conducted for articles published from 1 January 2000 to 30 November 2022 in the Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus and Web of Science databases, including primary studies providing quantitative or qualitative data. Additionally, a manual search was conducted scanning the reference lists of relevant articles and Google Scholar was searched to retrieve additional records. The process of screening, selection and inclusion of the articles, as well as the assessment of risk of bias and methodological quality, were conducted by two reviewers.

Results Out of the 3672 records identified, we included 10 studies, mostly (n=9) cross-sectional, evaluating screening for dysphagia in 1653 chronic post-stroke patients. Volume-Viscosity Swallow Test was the only test applied in multiple studies with adequate sample size, demonstrating high diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity=96.6%–88.2%; specificity=83.3%–71.4%) compared with the videofluoroscopic swallowing study.

Conclusions Dysphagia is an important complication in chronic post-stroke patients. Early identification of this condition through screening tools with adequate diagnostic accuracy is of paramount importance. The limited number of studies available and their small sample sizes may be a limitation to this study.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42022372303.

  • Stroke
  • Dysphagia
  • Rehabilitation
  • Hospice care
  • Home care

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.

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