News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Throat problems increase chance of death post-hip surgery

Older people with swallowing difficulties have longer stays in hospital, are at higher risk of developing pneumonia and have higher mortality rates after undergoing hip surgery, new research shows.

In one of the largest studies of its type ever done, speech therapists Dr Anna Miles and Dr Jacqui Allen from the University of Auckland analysed Waitemata DHB hospital and clinical data for 2500 hip fracture patients over a six-year period.

They identified people in the data with a condition known as dysphagia, which is difficulty swallowing food or drink and which mainly affects older people, particularly those over 80. Then they compared health outcomes for those patients with hip fracture patients without dysphagia.

The study found health outcomes were significantly poorer for those with swallowing problems including four times the risk of dying within 30 days of hospital discharge, 14 times the risk of developing aspiration pneumonia and hospital stays twice as long as non-dysphagia patients – 14 days compared to 32.

While people in the study with swallowing difficulties were generally older, with an average age of 85 compared to an average age of 78 for the non-dysphagia group, poorer health outcomes remained higher even when age were accounted for.

The study also looked at the economic costs of dysphagia and found it cost New Zealand’s health system twice to four times as much to treat people with the condition because of their longer stays in hospital.

Dr Allen, from the University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, says while this study used data on people admitted for hip surgery, the complications caused by the disorder potentially affect any older adult undergoing treatment for a wide range of other conditions such as chest infection or injury from a fall.

“We all know of older people admitted to hospital for a fracture or an infection who then go on to develop unrelated problems and as a speech therapist who specialises in dysphagia, I think we need better ways to detect the condition and treat it before problems arise.”

Dr Allen and Dr Miles, from the University’s School of Psychology, say a simple screening process of hospital admissions to detect swallowing problems would result in significant cost savings for the health system and make dysphagia patients time in hospital much easier.

Speech-language therapists have a number of approaches to treating dysphagia including changing a patient’s diet to include softer foods, adjusting a patient’s positioning or the way they swallow, and by providing exercises to strengthen swallowing muscles.

The study is published in Laryngoscope, a journal of the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

40 Years On: Prime Minister Delivers Erebus Apology

"That loss, in and of itself, was huge. It sent ripples across the country, and trauma that those who weren’t directly affected would probably struggle to fathom. But that loss and grief was compounded. It was undeniably worsened by the events that followed." More>>

ALSO:

The Testaments: Margaret Atwood Announces Three NZ Events

The evening will also feature Atwood’s remarkable career, her diverse range of works and why she has returned to the fictional world of Gilead 34 years later. More>>

ALSO:

Transit Of Mercury: Historic Viewing Recreated

Keen stargazers gathered at Te Whanganui o Hei, or Mercury Bay, on the Coromandel Peninsula to watch a rare astronomic event this morning. More>>

ALSO:

Forest And Bird: Hoiho Crowned Bird Of The Year For 2019

Widely considered an underdog, the valiant hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) has smashed the feathered ceiling to win Bird of the Year, a first for seabirds in the competition's 14 year history. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis: Very Silly Stormtroopers - Jojo Rabbit

Described as “an anti-hate satire,” Taiki Waititi's latest movie depicts the growth of a young boy in Nazi Germany who seeks advice on how to become a tough man from his 'imaginary friend' - a highly eccentric version of Adolf Hitler.
More>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 


 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland