Factors Influencing Oral Intake Improvement and Feeding Tube Dependency in Patients with Poststroke Dysphagia

Janina Wilmskoetter*, Leonardo Bonilha, Bonnie Martin-Harris, Jordan J. Elm, Janet Horn, Heather S. Bonilha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess ischemic stroke patients regarding the relationship between lesion locations, swallowing impairment, medical and demographic factors and (1) oral intake improvement and (2) feeding tube dependency at discharge from their acute hospital stay. Methods: We conducted an exploratory, retrospective observational longitudinal cohort study of acute, first-ever, ischemic stroke patients. Patients who had an initial nonoral feeding recommendation from a speech and language pathologist and who underwent a modified barium swallow study within their hospital stay were included. Oral intake status was measured with the Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS) as the change in FOIS during the hospital stay and as feeding tube dependency at hospital discharge. Associations were assessed with multiple linear regression modeling controlling for age, comorbidities, and hospital length of stay. Results: We included 44 stroke patients. At hospital discharge, 93% of patients had oral intake restrictions and 30% were feeding tube dependent. Following multiple linear regression modeling, age, damage to the left superior frontal gyrus, dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus, hypothalamus, and nucleus accumbens were significant predictors for FOIS change. Feeding tube dependency showed no significant associations with any prognostic variables when controlling for confounders. Conclusions: The vast majority of patients with an initial nonoral feeding recommendation are discharged with oral intake restrictions indicating a continued need for swallowing assessments and treatment after discharge. Lesion locations associated with motivation, reward, and drive to consume food as well as swallowing impairment, higher age, and more comorbidities were related to less oral intake improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1421-1430
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Acute stroke
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Gastric feeding tube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery


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