and dysphagia often coexist during critical illness; however, given the patient’s medical complexity, understanding the evidence to optimize swallowing assessment and intervention is challenging. The objective of this scoping review is to describe and explore the literature surrounding swallowing and tracheostomy
in the acute care setting.
Eight electronic databases were searched from inception to May 2017 inclusive, using a search strategy designed by an information scientist. We conducted manual searching of 10 journals, nine gray literature repositories, and forward and backward citation chasing.
Two blinded reviewers determined eligibility according to inclusion criteria: English-language studies reporting on swallowing or dysphagia in adults
(≥ 17 yr old) who had undergone tracheostomy
placement while in acute care. Patients with head and/or neck cancer diagnoses were excluded.
We extracted data using a form designed a priori and conducted descriptive analyses.
We identified 6,396 citations, of which 725 articles were reviewed and 85 (N) met inclusion criteria. We stratified studies according to content domains with some featuring in multiple categories: dysphagia frequency (n
= 38), swallowing physiology (n
= 27), risk factors (n
= 31), interventions (n
= 21), and assessment comparisons (n
= 12) and by patient etiology. Sample sizes (with tracheostomy
) ranged from 10 to 3,320, and dysphagia frequency ranged from 11% to 93% in studies with consecutive sampling. Study design, sampling method, assessment methods, and interpretation approach varied significantly across studies.
The evidence base surrounding this subject is diverse, complicated by heterogeneous patient selection methods, design, and reporting. We suggest ways the evidence base may be developed.