Dysphagia in stroke patients

Postgrad Med J. 2006 Jun;82(968):383-91. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.2005.043281.


Swallowing musculature is asymmetrically represented in both motor cortices. Stroke affecting the hemisphere with the dominant swallowing projection results in dysphagia and clinical recovery has been correlated with compensatory changes in the previously non-dominant, unaffected hemisphere. This asymmetric bilaterality may explain why up to half of stroke patients are dysphagic and why many will regain a safe swallow over a comparatively short period. Despite this propensity for recovery, dysphagia carries a sevenfold increased risk of aspiration pneumonia and is an independent predictor of mortality. The identification, clinical course, pathophysiology, and treatment of dysphagia after stroke are discussed in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Deglutition / physiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Fluoroscopy / methods
  • Humans
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation