Original Study| Volume 22, ISSUE 12, P2486-2490, December 2021

Greater Quadriceps Muscle Mass at Post-Acute Care Admission is Associated with Better Swallowing Ability at Discharge among Adults with Stroke



      This study aimed to examine the relationship between muscle mass and intramuscular adipose tissue of the quadriceps at post-acute care admission and recovery of swallowing ability in patients with stroke.


      Prospective study.

      Setting and Participants

      This study was hospital-based and included 62 inpatients with stroke.


      The primary outcome was swallowing ability at discharge. The swallowing ability was assessed using the Food Intake Level Scale (FILS). The FILS change was calculated by subtracting FILS at admission from FILS at discharge. Ultrasound images were acquired at admission using B-mode ultrasound imaging. Muscle mass and intramuscular adipose tissue of the quadriceps were assessed based on muscle thickness and echo intensity, respectively. The mean muscle thickness and echo intensity of the right and left quadriceps were used in the analysis. A multiple regression analysis was performed to identify the factors independently associated with the FILS at discharge and FILS change. The independent variables were the muscle thickness and echo intensity of the quadriceps, FILS at admission, age, sex, body mass index, days from stroke onset, C-reactive protein, updated Charlson comorbidity index, number of medications, unit number of rehabilitation therapy, and Barthel Index score at admission.


      Muscle thickness of the quadriceps was significantly and independently associated with FILS at discharge (β = 0.27) and FILS change (β = 0.40). Echo intensity of the quadriceps was not significantly and independently associated with FILS at discharge (β = 0.22) and FILS change (β = 0.31).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Our results indicated that greater quadriceps muscle mass at post-acute care admission was associated with better swallowing ability at discharge in patients with stroke. Assessing muscle mass of the quadriceps at admission is important for predicting recovery of swallowing ability and interventions for quadriceps muscle mass may be effective for improving swallowing ability of patients with stroke.


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