OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility, safety, and potential benefit of instrumental swallowing assessments for patients with prolonged disordered consciousness participating in rehabilitation. DESIGN: Case-control, retrospective. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-five participants divided into 2 cohorts according to cognitive level at the time of baseline instrumental swallowing assessment. Group 1 (n = 17) participants were at Rancho Los Amigo (RLA) level II/III or RLA level III, while Group 2 (n = 18) participants were rated better than RLA level III. RESULTS: Aspiration and laryngeal penetration rates for both groups were similar (aspiration rate Group 1 = 41%, Group 2 = 39%; laryngeal penetration rate Group 1 = 59%, Group 2 = 61%). Overall, 76% (13/17) of Group 1 and 72% (13/18) of Group 2 were able to receive some type of oral feedings following baseline video fluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) or endoscopic exam of the swallow (FEES). CONCLUSION: The majority of participants who underwent an instrumental swallowing examination while still functioning at RLA level II/III or RLA level III were able to return to some form of oral feedings immediately following their baseline examination. Swallowing as a treatment modality can be considered a part of the overall plan to facilitate neurobehavioral recovery for patients with prolonged disordered consciousness participating in rehabilitation.
- Brain injury
- Disordered consciousness
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology