Initiating safe oral feeding in critically Ill intensive care and step-down unit patients based on passing a 3-ounce (90 milliliters) water swallow challenge

Steven B. Leder, Debra M. Suiter, Heather L. Warner, Lewis J. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Pulmonary aspiration is a leading cause of nosocomial infection in the intensive care unit (ICU) and step-down unit (SDU). A key goal is to identify patients who exhibit increased aspiration risk before beginning oral alimentation. This study investigated the success of recommending specific oral diets to ICU and SDU patients based on passing a 3-oz water swallow challenge. Methods: A referral-based sample of 401 ICU and 92 SDU patients were prospectively analyzed. Amount of liquid and food ingested at the next dayÊ1/4s meal 12 hours to 24 hours after passing a 3-oz challenge and specific diet recommendations were accessed electronically from oral intake information entered on each participantÊ1/4s daily care sheets. Drinking and eating success, clinically evident aspiration events, and accuracy of diet order recommendations were recorded. Care providers were blinded to the purpose of the study. Results: All 401 ICU and 92 SDU patients were successfully drinking thin liquids and eating 12 hours to 24 hours after passing a 3-oz challenge. Mean volume of liquid ingested at the next dayÊ1/4s meal was 360 mL ± 181.2 mL for ICU and 356.4 mL ± 173.5 mL for SDU patients. Percent of meal eaten ranged from 10% to 100%. Patient care sheets indicated specific diet recommendations were followed with 100% accuracy. Successfully recommending specific oral diets for ICU and SDU patients based on passing a 3-oz water swallow challenge was supported. Importantly, when a simple bedside 3-oz challenge administered by a trained provider is passed, specific diet recommendations can be made safely and confidently without the need for further objective dysphagia testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1207
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma
Volume70
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

Keywords

  • Aspiration risk
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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