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Patients & Public > Research using SSNAP data > Lay Summaries > Does quickly assessing stroke patients' ability to swallow make a difference?

Lay Summaries - Does quickly assessing stroke patients' ability to swallow make a difference?

Lay summary: Does quickly assessing stroke patients' ability to swallow make a difference?


Stroke can cause difficulty swallowing. Difficulty swallowing can mean that food or drink is breathed into the lungs instead of being swallowed into your stomach. The food or drink then attracts bacteria which can cause an infection and swelling in the lungs (pneumonia). Speech and Language Therapists (SALTs) assess stroke patients to see if they have difficulty swallowing when they first arrive in hospital. SALTs give patients different types of liquids and solids and observe patients swallowing to see if they are having any difficulty. This study found that patients who had the longest delays to have their swallowing assessed by SALTs had a higher risk of pneumonia. This data confirms that rapidly identifying if stroke patients are having difficulty swallowing and then having a specialist speech and language therapy assessment is a good thing.



About the paper:
Paper title: 'Associations between the organisation of stroke services, process of care, and mortality in England: prospective cohort study' 
Year published: 2013
Authors: Benjamin D Bray, clinical academic fellow; Salma Ayis, lecturer in medical statistics; James Campbell, stroke audit development manager; Alex Hoffman, stroke programme manager; Michael Roughton, medical statistician; Pippa J Tyrrell, professor of stroke medicine; Charles D A Wolfe, professor of public health medicine; Anthony G Rudd, professor of stroke medicine.

A summary of this paper was published in the article '20 years of researching stroke through audit'.
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