An Epidemiologic Study on Ageing and Dysphagia in the Acute Care Geriatric-Hospitalized Population: A Replication and Continuation Study

Steven B. Leder, Debra M. Suiter, George O. Agogo, Leo M. Cooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


United States census data project dramatic increases in the geriatric population ageing demographics by 2060 with concomitant health-care consequences. The purpose of this replication and continuation study was to collect new 2014 demographic data relative to ageing, swallow evaluation referral rates, and oral feeding status in geriatric-hospitalized patients for comparison with published data from 2000 to 2007. This was a planned data acquisition study of consecutive hospitalized patients referred for swallow assessments. Swallow evaluation referral rates for 2014 were described according to inpatient discharges, age range 60–105 years grouped by decade, gender, admitting diagnostic category, results of swallow evaluations, and oral feeding status. Determination of aspiration risk status was made with the Yale Swallow Protocol and diagnosis of dysphagia made with fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES). There were 1348 referrals and 961 patients ≥60 years of age participated. Overall swallow evaluation referral rates increased an average of 63 % between the comparison years 2007 and 2014 with consistent increases corresponding to the decades, i.e., 60–69 (46 %), 70–79 (68 %), 80–89 (53 %), and 90+ (222 %). A total of 75 % of participants resumed oral alimentation and oral medications. Swallow evaluation referral rates increased by 63 % for 60–90+ year-old acute care geriatric-hospitalized participants despite only a 23 % increase in inpatient discharges for the years 2007 versus 2014. This corroborated previously reported increases for individual years from 2000 to 2007. For timely, safe, and successful initiation of oral alimentation, it is important to perform a reliable swallow screen for aspiration risk assessment with the Yale Swallow Protocol and, if failed, instrumental testing with FEES. More dysphagia specialists are needed through 2060 and beyond due to projections of continued population ageing resulting in ever increasing referral rates for swallow assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-625
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Aspiration risk
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Fiberoptic endoscopy
  • Geriatrics
  • Swallow screen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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