Are Differences in Dysphagia Assessment, Oral Care Provision, or Nasogastric Tube Insertion Associated with Stroke-Associated Pneumonia? A Nationwide Survey Linked to National Stroke Registry Data

Sabrina A. Eltringham*, Benjamin D. Bray, Craig J. Smith, Sue Pownall, Karen Sage

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Introduction: Stroke-associated pneumonia (SAP) is a common complication associated with poor outcomes. Early dysphagia screening and specialist assessment is associated with a reduced risk of SAP. Evidence about oral care and nasogastric tube (NGT) placement is equivocal. This study aimed to expose variations in dysphagia management practices and explore their associations with SAP. Participants and Methods: Speech pathologists from 166 stroke units in England and Wales were surveyed about dysphagia assessment and management, oral care, and NGT placement. Survey data were then linked to the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP), the national register of stroke. Univariable and multivariable linear regression models were fitted to estimate the association between dysphagia management practices and SAP incidence. Results: 113 hospitals completed the survey (68%). Variation was evident in dysphagia screening protocols (DSPs), oral care, and NGT practice while specialist swallow assessment data patterns were more consistent. Multivariable analysis showed no evidence of an association in incidence of SAP when using a water-only hospital DSP compared to a multiconsistency DSP (B -0.688, 95% CI: -2.912 to 1.536), when using written swallow assessment guidelines compared to not using written guidelines (B 0.671, 95% CI: -1.567 to 2.908), when teams inserted NGTs overnight compared to teams which did not (B -0.505, 95% CI: -2.759 to 1.749), and when teams had a written oral care protocol compared to those which did not (B -1.339, 95% CI: -3.551 to 0.873). Discussion and Conclusion: Variation exists in dysphagia screening and management, but there was no evidence of an association between clinical practice patterns and incidence of SAP. Further research with larger sample sizes is needed to examine association with SAP.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCEREBROVASCULAR DISEASES
    DOIs
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

    Keywords

    • Acute stroke
    • Dysphagia assessment
    • Nasogastric tube feeding
    • Oral care
    • Stroke-associated pneumonia

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