Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020 Sep 19. doi: 10.1007/s40520-020-01707-9. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Oropharyngeal dysphagia is an emerging age-related disorder that affects 23% of inpatients leading to malnutrition, dehydration, or aspiration pneumonia. Anticholinergic drugs can cause reduced peristalsis and dry mouth, both related to dysphagia.
AIM: To determine the association between anticholinergic burden and oropharyngeal dysphagia in older inpatients.
METHODS: Retrospective descriptive observational study. There are 239 patients. Dysphagia diagnosis based on routine volume-viscosity swallow test. Characteristics: age, functional loss (instrumental and basic activities), frailty (Frail-VIG-Index), geriatric syndromes, polypharmacy, and anticholinergic-cognitive-burden scale at admission.
RESULTS: 25.5% of elderly patients diagnosed with dysphagia are more dependent and frailer than non-dysphagic patients. 83.6% scored ≥ 3 points on the ACB Scale [odds ratio: 4.46 (2.13-9.33)], which is statistically associated with dysphagia (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Patients with an ACB of ≥ 3 points at admission are more than four times as likely to develop oropharyngeal dysphagia. Evaluating anticholinergic burden routinely should be considered and, whenever possible, reduce it.