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Occlusal Support, Dysphagia, Malnutrition, and Activities of Daily Living in Aged Individuals Needing Long-Term Care: A Path Analysis

Wakabayashi, Hidetaka, Matsushima, M., Ichikawa, H., Murayama, S., Yoshida, S., Kaneko, M., Mutai, R.
The journal of nutrition, health & aging 2018 v.22 no.1 pp. 53-58
cross-sectional studies, dentures, dysphagia, females, hospitals, long term care, males, malnutrition, nutrition assessment, nutritional status, path analysis, risk
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine the interrelationships among occlusal support, dysphagia, malnutrition, and activities of daily living in aged individuals needing long-term care. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study and path analysis. SETTING: Long-term health care facilities, acute care hospitals, and the community. PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred and fifty-four individuals aged ≥ 65 years with dysphagia or potential dysphagia in need of long-term care. MEASUREMENTS: The modified Eichner Index, Dysphagia Severity Scale, Mini Nutritional Assessment Short Form, and Barthel index. RESULTS: The participants included 118 males and 236 females with a mean (standard deviation) age of 83 (8) years. A total of 216 participants had functional occlusal support with or without dentures. Of the total participants, 73 were within normal limits regarding the severity of dysphagia, 119 exhibited dysphagia without aspiration, and 162 exhibited dysphagia with aspiration. Only 34 had a normal nutritional status, while 166 participants were malnourished, and 154 were at risk of malnutrition. The median Barthel index score was 30. Path analysis indicated two important findings: occlusal support had a direct effect on dysphagia (standard coefficient = 0.33), and dysphagia was associated directly with malnutrition (standard coefficient = 0.50). Dysphagia and malnutrition were associated directly with impaired activities of daily living (standard coefficient = 0.57, 0.22). CONCLUSION: In aged individuals needing long-term care, occlusal support is associated directly with dysphagia and indirectly with malnutrition and activities of daily living via dysphagia.