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The onset of swallowing difficulties with progressive age is reported to occur in 13-35% of the elderly population. Sarcopenia is characterised by a decrease in muscle mass, strength and function. Sarcopenic dysphagia is a relatively new term. Its prevalence is unknown due to the difficulties in routinely assessing patients using functional tests. The authors of this paper investigated the relationship between sarcopenia and dysphagia as part of a comprehensive evaluation. Dysphagia was evaluated using the EAT-10 questionnaire and sarcopenia, the SARC-F screening questionnaire. They collected data via a cross-sectional survey of 512 people (361 were female) with a mean age of 72 years. Of their sample, 23% presented with dysphagia and 40.6% with sarcopenia. Eighty-three patients (16.6%) had both dysphagia and sarcopenia. Dysphagic patients with sarcopenia were generally older, more dependent in activities of daily living (ADL), had poorer hand grip strength, and performed worse on the ‘timed up and go’ test than dysphagic patients without sarcopenia. They also had lower serum levels for haemoglobin and albumin. Dysphagia was independently associated with higher depression scores. Despite a few limitations highlighted by the authors, this paper is helpful in signposting dysphagia specialists to a comprehensive battery of tests when assessing age-related dysphagia. This should include the assessment of sarcopenia, depression and functionality.

Relationship Between Dysphagia and Sarcopenia with Comprehensive Geriatric Evaluation.
Ozer FF, Akın S, Soysal T, et al.
DYSPHAGIA
2021;36(1):140-6.
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CONTRIBUTOR
Roganie Govender

University College London Hospital, Head & Neck Academic Centre, UK.

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