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Is Dysphagia After Cardiac Operations a “Preexisting Condition”?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

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Source Name: Annals of Thoracic Surgery


B. Jason Bowles, MDcorrespondenceemail, Jo Puntil-Sheltman, MS, CCC BCS-S

The authors tested a group of 176 patients undergoing cardiac surgery for dysphagia both preoperatively and postoperatively.  Preoperatively, 8.5% of patients failed the swallow test.  Postoperatively, 21.6% failed the test.  All patients who failed preoperatively also failed postoperatively.  Thus, approximately 40% fo patients who have postop dysphagia had evidence of dysphagia preoperatively.  

These results beg the question:  Ought we to be screening at-risk patients for dysphagia preoperatively?  If so, how would this change management postop?

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