Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in adults. Dysphagia, or difficulty with swallowing, is an untoward outcome of stroke occurring in as many as 71% of stroke survivors. This study sought to identify characteristics in stroke patients predictive of tube feeding dependency during acute care secondary to neurogenic oropharyngeal dysphagia. Significant differences in age, stroke severity scores, length of stay, and cost per case were measured between the tube feeding and control group patients. Univariate analysis identified the existence of seven dependent risk factors, of which four were found to be independent risk factors for the outcome of interest: wet voice after swallowing water, hypoglossal nerve dysfunction, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, and incomplete oral labial closure. Findings from this study may assist healthcare providers in the early identification of stroke patients at risk for clinically significant neurogenic oropharyngeal dysphagia, facilitating reduction of untoward outcomes.

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