The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of a water protocol on the incidence of aspiration pneumonia in persons with cerebrovascular accident and dysphagia admitted to an acute neurologic rehabilitation setting. Retrospective chart review and cohort matching of persons with dysphagia admitted before and after the implementation of a water protocol were carried out. The incidence of aspiration pneumonia was higher in the cohort control group-those patients admitted during the years before the implementation of a water protocol. No persons with dysphagia who received water, even if known aspirators of thin liquids, developed aspiration pneumonia. Our findings support the premise that even in known thin liquid aspirators, offering water does not increase incidence of aspiration pneumonia.
Gail Ramsberger, ScD CCC-SLP ANCDS, is the chair and an associate professor at the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Kimberly L. Frey, MS CCC-SLP CBIS, at Kim.Frey@ucdenver.edu. She is an instructor/fellow of the Neurobehavioral Disorders Program at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO.