Hypoxemia during oral feedings in adults with dysphagia and severe neurological disabilities

Brian Rogers, Michael Msall, David Shucard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


Signs of respiratory distress including coughing, choking, and gagging are not uncommon during oral feedings in patients with severe dysphagia. Aspiration pneumonia and chronic lung disease are recognized complications. Pulse oximetry, respiratory inductance plethysmography, and nasal airflow measurement by thermistors are accurate noninvasive methods of monitoring cardiopulmonary adaptation during oral feedings in patients with severe dysphagia. We report significant, previously unrecognized, acquired hypoxemia during oral feedings in two patients with severe cerebral palsy and one with multiple sclerosis. The episodes of hypoxemia occurred only while swallowing specific food textures. Periods of hypoxemia most probably resulted from aspiration during oral feedings. Cardiopulmonary adaptation may prove to be an important consideration in decisions regarding the method and advisability of continued oral feedings in patients with severe dysphagia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993
Externally publishedYes



  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Hypoxemia
  • Pulse oximetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology

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