Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow (FEES) in Intensive Care Unit Patients Post Extubation

Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019 Jun;71(2):266-270. doi: 10.1007/s12070-018-1275-x. Epub 2018 Mar 5.


Intensive care unit patients frequently require prolonged intubation and ventilator support. Swallowing dysfunction often occurs in patients who receive prolonged mechanical ventilation. Intubation can cause transient injury to the larynx with a subsequent reduction in protective mechanism and increased incidence of oropharyngeal secretions once patient is extubated. Aim of this study was to evaluate the anatomical damage caused by intubation and the occurrence of aspiration/silent aspiration in patients following extubation, using fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallow (FEES) as diagnostic and therapeutic tool. Participants in the study included all adult ICU patients who were intubated for ≥ 48 h. Head injury patients, patients with abnormal neurological status, completely disoriented patients were excluded. We performed FEES in 41 patients. Duration of intubation was in the range of 2-9 days. We studied 41 patients, among them 19(44%) patients had laryngeal injury and 6 (14%) had aspiration. we noticed that all patients who had aspiration had some laryngeal injury. All 6 patients who had aspiration initially recovered their swallowing function fully as noticed during repeat FEES done after swallow therapy. There is a significant impact of intubation on occurrence of aspiration (14%) and laryngeal abnormality (44%). We found in our study that there is a significant correlation to duration of intubation and occurrence of laryngeal injury.

Keywords: Aspiration; Deglutition; Dysphagia; Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallow; Swallowing.