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Swallowing disorders in persons with cerebrovascular accident.

Thirty-eight CVA patients with swallowing disorders were studied videofluorographically (VFG) to determine: (1) the nature of their swallowing disorders, (2) the relationship between the site of the cerebrovascular accident and the nature of the swallowing disorder(s) exhibited and (3) the frequency and etiology of any aspiration present. The 38 CVA patients exhibited a variety of physiologic disturbances in swallowing, usually occurring in combination rather than as isolated disorders. A delayed swallowing reflex was the most frequent disorder seen in all patient groups. Reduced pharyngeal peristalsis was the next most frequent disorder, followed by reduced tongue control. Only brainstem CVA patients exhibited reduced laryngeal closure. Two patients (no right CVAs) experienced cricopharyngeal dysfunction. Few differences in nature of swallowing disorders were seen according to lesion location. Approximately one third of the patients aspirated, most frequently because of delayed triggering of the swallowing reflex. All aspiration occurred because of disorders in the pharyngeal stage of the swallow, emphasizing the importance of VFG evaluation of dysphagia in CVA patients.

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