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Braun, Tobias, Jünemann, Martin, Viard, Maxime, Meyer, Marco, Fuest, Sven, Reuter, Iris, Kaps, Manfred, Prosiegel, Mario and Tanislav, Christian (2018): What is the value of fibre-endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) in neurological patients? Across-sectional hospital-based registry study. In: BMJ Open, Vol. 8, No. 3, e019016 [PDF, 617kB]


Objectives Fibre-endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) to detect dysphagia is gaining more and more importance as a diagnostic tool. Therefore, we have investigated the impact of FEES in neurological patients in a clinical setting. Design Cross-sectional hospital-based registry. Setting Primary acute care in a neurological department of a German university hospital. Participants 241 patients with various neurological diseases who underwent FEES procedure. Primary and secondary outcome measures Dysphagia and related comorbidities. Results 267 FEES were performed in 241 patients with various neurological diagnoses. Dysphagia was diagnosed in 68.9% of the patients. In only 33.1% of the patients, appropriate oral diet was chosen prior to FEES. A relevant dysphagia occurred more often in patients with structural brain lesions (83.1 % vs 65.3%, P=0.001), patients with dysphagia had a longer hospitalisation (median 18 (IQR 12-30) vs 15 days (IQR 9.75-22.75), P=0.005) and had a higher mortality (8.4% vs 1.3%, P=0.041). When the oral diet was changed, we observed a lower pneumonia rate (36% vs 50%, P=0.051) and a lower mortality (3.7% vs 11.3%, P=0.043) in comparison to no change of oral diet. A restriction of oral diet was identified more often in older patients (median 75 years (IQR 66.3-82 years) vs median 72 years (IQR 60-79 years), P=0.01) and in patients with structural brain lesions (86.8% vs 73.1 %, P=0.05). Conclusion On clinical investigation, dysphagia was misjudged for the majority of the patients. FEES might help to compensate this drawback, revising the diet regime in nearly 70% of the patients.

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