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Contribution of thickened drinks, food and enteral and parenteral fluids to fluid intake in hospitalised patients with dysphagia

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Abstract Background: 

Studies amongst older people with acute dysphagic stroke requiring thickened fluids have assessed fluid intakes from combinations of beverage, food, enteral and parenteral sources, but not all sources simultaneously. The present study aimed to comprehensively assess total water intake from food, beverages, enteral and parenteral sources amongst dysphagic adult in-patients receiving thickened fluids. Methods: 

Patients requiring thickened fluid following dysphagia diagnosis were recruited consecutively from a tertiary teaching hospital’s medical and neurosurgical wards. Fluid intake from food and beverages was assessed by wastage, direct observation and quantified from enteral and parenteral sources through clinical medical records. Results: 

No patients achieved their calculated fluid requirements unless enteral or parenteral fluids were received. The mean daily fluid intake from food was greater than from beverages whether receiving diet alone (food: 807 ± 363 mL, food and beverages: 370 ± 179 mL; P < 0.001) or diet with enteral or parenteral fluid support (food: 455 ± 408 mL, food and beverages: 263 ± 232 mL; P < 0.001). Greater daily fluid intakes occurred when receiving enteral and parenteral fluid in addition to oral dietary intake, irrespective of age group, whether assistance was required, diagnosis and whether stage 3 or stage 2 thickened fluids were required (P < 0.05). After enteral and parenteral sources, food provided the most important contribution to daily fluid intakes. Conclusions: 

The greatest contribution to oral fluid intake was from food, not beverages. Designing menus and food services that promote and encourage the enjoyment of fluid dense foods, in contrast to thickened beverages, may present an important way to improve fluid intakes of those with dysphagia. Supplemental enteral or parenteral fluid may be necessary to achieve minimum calculated fluid requirements.

Keywords: dehydration prevention; dysphagia; enteral and parenteral fluid; fluid intake; swallowing disorder; thickened fluids

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 2: School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 3: Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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