European Stroke Organization and European Society for Swallowing Disorders guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of post-stroke dysphagia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Rainer Dziewas
  • Michaela Trapl-Grundschober
  • Lal Avtar
  • Ethem Murat Arsava
  • Philip M.W. Bath
  • Pere Clavé
  • Jörg Glahn
  • Sue Pownall
  • Antonio Schindler
  • Margaret Walshe
  • Rainer Wirth
  • David Wright
  • Eric Verin


Post-stroke dysphagia (PSD) is present in more than 50 % of acute stroke patients, increases the risk of complications, in particular aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition and dehydration, and is linked to poor outcome and mortality. The aim of this guideline is to assist all members of the multidisciplinary team in their management of patients with PSD. These guidelines were developed based on the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) standard operating procedure and followed the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. An interdisciplinary working group identified 20 relevant questions, performed systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the literature, assessed the quality of the available evidence, and wrote evidence-based recommendations. Expert opinion was provided if not enough evidence was available to provide recommendations based on the GRADE approach. We found moderate quality of evidence to recommend dysphagia screening in all stroke patients to prevent post-stroke pneumonia and decrease risk of early mortality and low quality of evidence to suggest dysphagia assessment in stroke patients having been identified at being at risk of PSD. We found low to moderate quality of evidence for a variety of treatment options to improve swallowing physiology and swallowing safety. These options include dietary interventions, behavioral swallowing treatment including acupuncture, nutritional interventions, oral health care, different pharmacological agents and different types of neurostimulation treatment. Some of the studied interventions also had an impact on other clinical endpoints such as feedings status or pneumonia. Overall, further randomised trials are needed to improve the quality of evidence for the treatment of PSD.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Stroke Journal
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2021