Dysphagia is common in acute stroke, affecting more than half of
patients in the early stages of their recovery. Complications
associated with dysphagia include dehydration, malnutrition and
respiratory infections, including aspiration pneumonia. However,
dysphagia alone is not enough to predict which patients will
develop respiratory infections. This publication examines the
factors that predict patients who are at greatest risk of
developing respiratory infections in the acute phase of their
stroke. Patients who were admitted to hospitals in Western
Australia with stroke were followed up for one month. Factors that
were associated with respiratory infections were examined to
determine the most significant predictors of patients being
diagnosed with infection. The data indicated a period of heightened
susceptibility to infection in acute stroke. Other risk factors
included poor mobility, poor oral hygiene, multiple medications and
stroke severity and also dysphagia.This publication discusses the
implications of aspiration of colonised oropharyngeal secretions on
development of respiratory infection in stroke.
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