Dysphagia and Associated Pneumonia in Stroke Patients from Brazil: A Systematic Review.


Aline Cristina Pacheco-Castilho


Department of Neurosciences and Behavioral Sciences, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Zip Code: 14049-900, Brazil. [Email]


Dysphagia and its associated complications are expected to be relatively more frequent in stroke patients in Brazil than in similar patients treated in developed countries due to the suboptimal stroke care in many Brazilians medical services. However, there is no estimate of dysphagia and pneumonia incidence for the overall stroke population in Brazil. We conducted a systematic review of the recent literature to address this knowledge gap, first screening citations for relevance and then rating full articles of accepted citations. At both levels, judgements were made by two independent raters according to a priori criteria. Fourteen accepted articles underwent critical appraisal and data extraction. The frequency of dysphagia in stroke patients was high (59% to 76%). Few studies assessed pneumonia and only one study stratified patients by both dysphagia and pneumonia, with an increased Relative Risk for pneumonia in patients with stroke and dysphagia of 8.4 (95% CI 2.1, 34.4). Across all articles, we identified bias related to: heterogeneity in number and type of stroke; no rater blinding; and, assessments that were not reproducible, reliable or validated. Despite the high frequency of dysphagia and associated pneumonia in stroke patients in Brazil, the quality of the available literature is low and that there is little research focused on these epidemiologic data. Future rigorously designed studies are in dire need to accurately determine dysphagia incidence and its impact on stroke patients in Brazil. These data will be critical to properly allocate limited national resources that maximize the quality of stroke care.


Brazil,Deglutition,Deglutition disorders,Dysphagia,Pneumonia,Stroke,