Swallow Screen Associated With Airway Protection and Dysphagia After Acute Stroke

Rachel W. Mulheren, Marlís González-Fernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The goal was to examine the outcomes of an existing swallow screen protocol in comparison to results from a formal videofluoroscopic protocol. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Acute hospital. Participants: Patients after acute stroke (N=48). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: The Johns Hopkins Hospital Brain Rescue Unit 3 oz Swallow Screen was implemented by nursing staff upon admission. Videofluoroscopy was conducted within 72 hours of diagnostic neuroimaging and initial swallow screen. Predictive values of the bedside swallow screen (pass/fail) for clinical judgment of dysphagia on videofluoroscopy (presence/absence) were calculated. Overall impairment scores from the Modified Barium Swallowing Impairment Profile were analyzed with respect to swallow screen results. Results: Thirteen participants failed the swallow screen, and 35 passed. Of the 35 patients who passed the swallow screen, 15 were clinically diagnosed with dysphagia on videofluoroscopy. Although pass/fail of the swallow screen was not a significant predictor of presence/absence of dysphagia, a logistic regression model including components of Laryngeal Elevation, Laryngeal Vestibule Closure, and Anterior Hyoid Excursion, and sex was statistically significant for swallow screen outcome. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that a swallow screen of aspiration risk can identify patients with the most need for videofluoroscopic evaluation and dysphagia management. Additionally, patients who fail a swallow screen are more likely to present with physiologic impairments related to airway protection on videofluoroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1289-1293
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • Deglutition disorders
  • Diagnostic screening programs
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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