Predictors of dysphagia screening and pneumonia among patients with acute ischaemic stroke in China: findings from the Chinese Stroke Center Alliance (CSCA)

Background and purpose

Guidelines recommend dysphagia screening to identify those at high risk of pneumonia. However, little is known about the prevalence and predictors of dysphagia screening and pneumonia among patients with acute ischaemic stroke in China.

Methods

Using data from the Chinese Stroke Center Alliance, which is a multicentre, prospective, consecutive patient enrolment programme, univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify patient and hospital characteristics associated with dysphagia screening and pneumonia during acute hospitalisation.

Results

Of 790 811 patients admitted to 1476 hospitals, 622 718 (78.7%) underwent dysphagia screening, and 64 398 (8.1%) developed pneumonia. Patients in stroke units were more likely to be screened for dysphagia than those not in stroke units (OR 1.50; 95% CI 1.48 to 1.52), while patients with a past history of stroke were less likely to be screened (OR 0.87; 95% CI 0.86 to 0.88). Dysphagia screening (OR 1.46; 95% CI 1.30 to 1.65), dysphagia (OR 7.31; 95% CI 7.15 to 7.46), and admission to stroke units (OR 1.17; 95% CI 1.14 to 1.19) were significantly associated with a greater risk of pneumonia.

Conclusions

Dysphagia was a critical factor in the development of pneumonia. Nearly one in five patients with acute ischaemic stroke in the Chinese Stroke Center Alliance were not screened for dysphagia. Pneumonia prevention during acute hospitalisation is dependent not only on dysphagia screening but also on the effectiveness of subsequent dysphagia management interventions. Further studies are needed to elucidate the relationship between dysphagia screening, stroke unit care and pneumonia in patients with acute ischaemic stroke.

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