Original Study| Volume 22, ISSUE 12, P2527-2533.e1, December 2021

Delayed Dysphagia May Be Sarcopenic Dysphagia in Patients After Stroke

Published:August 10, 2021DOI:



      In many cases, swallowing function is impaired after the onset of stroke and gradually improves. However, delayed dysphagia has been reported in some post-stroke patients. Recently, several studies have reported that low muscle strength and decreased muscle mass cause dysphagia. This study aimed to investigate whether these conditions are associated with delayed dysphagia after stroke.


      A multicenter prospective observational cohort study.

      Setting and Participants

      Participants included 165 patients with post-stroke dysphagia (mean age 79.1 ± 8.0 years, 53.3% women) admitted to rehabilitation wards for post-stroke rehabilitation.


      Swallowing function was assessed using the Functional Oral Intake Scale. Delayed dysphagia was defined as dysphagia that occurred more than 7 days after stroke onset. We used logistic regression to examine the independent association between low muscle strength and decreased muscle mass and delayed dysphagia development. Furthermore, we examined the relationship between improvement in dysphagia and delayed dysphagia.


      Delayed dysphagia was observed in 18 (10.9%) patients. The combination of severely low muscle strength and decreased muscle mass was independently associated with the development of delayed dysphagia (adjusted odds ratio: 4.423, 95% confidence interval: 1.400–13.974, P = .011). Delayed dysphagia had an adverse effect on the improvement of dysphagia during in-hospital rehabilitation (adjusted odds ratio: 0.278, 95% confidence interval: 0.078–0.986, P = .047).

      Conclusions and Implications

      The development of delayed dysphagia was influenced by a combination of severely low muscle strength and decreased muscle mass. Furthermore, delayed dysphagia adversely affects the improvement of dysphagia in patients with stroke and needs to be identified early. Identifying delayed dysphagia using the methods proposed in this study and incorporating early intervention may prevent or delay dependency conditions in this population.


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