Pneumonia in Stroke Patients: A Retrospective Study
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This is a retrospective study of 378 consecutive stroke patients who were referred between June 1994 and June 1997 for videofluorographic study of oropharyngeal swallow. Patients who had radiation therapy, brain tumor, brain surgery, head and/or spinal cord trauma, oral–pharyngeal disease or surgery, or other neurologic diseases in addition to the stroke were excluded from the study. Patients were assigned to two groups: one with pneumonia and one without pneumonia. One hundred one patients were included in the pneumonia group, and 277 patients were included in the nonpneumonia group. Within the pneumonia group, patients were assigned to an acute pneumonia group (pneumonia within 6 months poststroke) and a chronic pneumonia group (pneumonia more than 6 months poststroke). Variables examined in the study included patients' medical history and the findings from the videofluorographic studies. Pearson chi-square analysis was used to identify those variables that were significantly different between the pneumonia and nonpneumonia patient groups and between the acute and chronic pneumonia groups. Results showed that stroke patients who developed pneumonia had a significantly higher incidence of multiple-location and unspecified lesion strokes, chronic airway disease in their medical history, and aspiration during the videofluorographic studies when compared with patients who did not develop pneumonia. Within the pneumonia group, the acute pneumonia group was found to have a significantly higher incidence of hypertension and diabetes in their medical history and a significantly higher incidence of aspiration and reduced laryngeal elevation during the videofluorographic studies. Between 48% and 55% of all stroke patients in the study aspirated. Patients who suffered multiple strokes, brainstem stroke, or subcortical stroke had the greatest frequency of aspiration.
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