Oropharyngeal Dysphagia and Dysarthria: Epidemiological Analysis on a Sample of Patients with Acute Cerebrovascular Disease

Marzia Griffa, Rossella Muò, Cristiana Tiddia, Diego Sammarco, Rosalba Di Rosa, Valeria Landi, Marta Gambino, Simona Raimondo

Dysarthria and oropharyngeal dysphagia are frequent in outcomes of acute cerebrovascular diseases, but the epidemiological data available in literature are limited and conflicting, especially in terms of dysarthria and at a national level. The purpose of this study is to identify the incidence and co-occurrence of the two symptoms in a large sample of patients in the acute phase with cerebrovascular damage, and more specifically with ischemic stroke. From a total of 1,631 patients hospitalized for different etiopathogenic diagnoses from 2012 to 2017 in a large acute-care hospital, a retrospective epidemiological study was carried out both on the sample of those who entered for cerebrovascular pathology (n = 684), and on the sample of those hospitalized in the Stroke Unit with a diagnosis of ischemic stroke (n = 234). The results of the study, compared with the data present in literature, confirm the relevance of dysarthria and oropharyngeal dysphagia and their possible association in the populations in question. The investigation recommends implementing right from the acute phase validated tools for the early identification of dysarthria, a symptom which should be considered as signalling a risk of oropharyngeal dysphagia.


Dysarthria, Oropharyngeal dysphagia, Cerebrovascular disease, Ischemic stroke, Epidemiology.