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Dysphagia as a Geriatric Syndrome

Oropharyngeal dysphagia has long been known to cause malnutrition, dehydration, respiratory infections, aspiration pneumonia, and increased readmissions, institutionalization, and morbimortality. Dysphagia is increasing in prevalence in our aging population, but despite this increase, dysphagia remains under-recognized and under-diagnosed in many medical centers.


The Dysphagia Working Group, a committee of members from the European Society for Swallowing Disorders and the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society, and three invited experts, is calling for increased recognition and treatment of oropharyngeal dysphagia, which they have deemed as a “geriatric syndrome,” as it is highly prevalent among older people, is caused by multiple factors, is associated with several comorbidities and poor prognosis, and requires a multidimensional treatment approach.


The link below will direct readers to the Dysphagia Working Group’s position paper, which consists of 12 sections that cover all aspects of oropharyngeal dysphagia related to geriatric medicine: diagnosis, prevalence, physiopathology, complications, management, treatment, and legal and ethical issues.