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Dysphagia and medicine regimes in patients following lung transplant surgery: A retrospective review

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posted on 16.09.2020 by Anna Miles, Sujay Barua, Naomi McLellan, Lejla Brkic

Dysphagia is reported following lung transplantation. Characteristics and trajectory for dysphagia are poorly understood. This retrospective study explored dysphagia and medicine regimes in patients following lung transplant.

Medical records and endoscopic recordings of 101 patients (M:50yrs, range 20–67yrs, SD 13yrs) were reviewed. Standardised endoscopic swallowing measures were reported. Discharge reports were analysed for medicines known to cause dysphagia.

All patients received bilateral sequential single-lung transplant. Prevalence of referral to speech pathology was 65% with 37 requiring more than one instrumental assessment. Twenty-nine patients were referred to otorhinolaryngology with suspected laryngeal abnormalities. Seventy-five percent of patients (n = 49/65) who received an instrumental assessment aspirated; of whom 63% aspirated silently (31/49). Diet on first day transferred from Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was significantly associated with intubation duration, ICU and hospital length of stay, tracheostomy and vocal fold paralysis (p < 0.001). In contrast, pre-operative reflux was significantly associated with diet on discharge (p < 0.05). Only three patients remained enterally fed on discharge. Polypharmacy (concurrent use of 5+ medicines) was prevalent.

Endoscopic, radiographic and/or manometric assessment of dysphagia in patients prior to, and following, lung transplant may allow for early management and prevention of secondary complications. Teams must consider pre-surgical reflux, length of stay in ICU and current medicine regimes when managing patients.

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