J Korean Dysphagia Soc.  2022 Jan;12(1):24-34. 10.34160/jkds.2022.12.1.003.

Relationship between Generalized Sarcopenia and the Severity of Dysphagia after a Stroke

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Bundang Jesaeng General Hospital, Seongnam, Korea


Patients who have suffered a stroke may experience dysphagia, which could raise the risk of aspiration pneumonia and death. This is also a complication prevalent in older adults with various comorbidities. This study aimed at investigating the association between head lifting strength and dysphagia, particularly in each of the two phases of dysphagia, namely the oral and the pharyngeal phase, in stroke patients.
We prospectively recruited 64 patients within six months of their first-ever stroke. Head lifting strength, handgrip strength, and calf circumference were measured. The severity of dysphagia was evaluated using the videofluoroscopic dysphagia scale (VDS). Partial correlation and multiple linear regression analyses were applied to examine the association between head lifting strength and dysphagia.
The subjects were comprised of 31 men and 33 women with a mean age of 63 years. The median National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score was 5.5 (interquartile range 4.0-8.0). Based on the penetration-aspiration scale, 46 participants had dysphagia without aspiration and 18 had dysphagia with aspiration. The head lifting strength in the non-aspiration group was higher compared with the aspiration group. The head lifting strength was significantly correlated with the VDS-pharyngeal phase (r=−0.715) and the penetration-aspiration scale (r=−0.662). In the multiple linear regression analysis, head lifting strength was independently associated with pharyngeal-phase dysphagia (P<0.001).
Head lifting strength is significantly associated with the severity of dysphagia in the pharyngeal phase.


Dysphagia; Stroke; Sarcopenia; Videofluoroscopic swallowing study; Head lifting strength
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