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 Smith, Sue Pownall, Karen Sage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction
Stroke-associated pneumonia (SAP) is a common complication associated with poor outcomes. Early dysphagia screening and specialist assessment is associated with 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 multi-consistency DSP (B -.688, 95% CI –2.912-1.536), when using written swallow assessment guidelines compared to not using written guidelines (B .671, 95% CI –1.567-2.908), when teams inserted NGTs overnight compared to teams which did not (B –.505, 95% CI –2.759-1.749) and when teams had a written oral care protocol compared to those which did not (B –1.339, 95% CI –3.551 - .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
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Sept 2021

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