Dysphagia Among Geriatric Trauma Patients: A Population-based study.


North Florida


Ocala Regional Medical Center

Document Type


Publication Date



dysphagia, deglutition disorders, wounds and injuries, hospital mortality


Geriatrics | Surgery | Trauma


OBJECTIVE: To determine the significance of dysphagia on clinical outcomes of geriatric trauma patients.

METHODS: This is a retrospective population-based study of geriatric trauma patients 65 years and older utilizing the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration dataset from 2010 to 2019. Patients with pre-admission dysphagia were excluded. Multivariable regression was used to create statistical adjustments. Primary outcomes included mortality and the development of dysphagia. Secondary outcomes included length of stay and complications. Subgroup analyses included patients with dementia, patients who received transgastric feeding tubes (GFTs) or tracheostomies, and speech language therapy consultation.

RESULTS: A total of 52,946 geriatric patients developed dysphagia after admission during a 9-year period out of 1,150,438 geriatric trauma admissions. In general, patients who developed dysphagia had increased mortality, length of stay, and complications. When adjusted for traumatic brain and cervical spine injuries, the addition of mechanical ventilation decreased the mortality odds. This was also observed in the subset of patients with dysphagia who had GFTs placed. Of the three primary risk factors for dysphagia investigated, mechanical ventilation was the most strongly associated with later development of dysphagia and mortality.

CONCLUSION: The geriatric trauma population is vulnerable to dysphagia with a large number associated with traumatic brain injury, cervical spine injury, and polytraumatic injuries that lead to mechanical ventilation. Earlier intubation/mechanical ventilation in association with GFTs was found to be associated with decreased inpatient hospital mortality. Tracheostomy placement was shown to be an independent risk factor for the development of dysphagia. The utilization of speech language therapy was found to be inconsistently utilized.

Publisher or Conference

PLoS One