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Adequate Oral Fluid Intake in Hospitalized Stroke Patients: Does Viscosity Matter?


  • Anne McGrail PhD CCC-SLP,

  • Lisa N. Kelchner PhD CCC-SLP BRS-S

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Sufficient intake of oral fluids to meet hydration needs is a critical recovery issue for patients hospitalized post stroke. Concerns for adequate oral fluid intake are generally focused on dysphagic patients restricted to thickened liquids; however, fluid intake patterns in stroke patients receiving thin liquids are unknown.


This study examines the oral fluid intake patterns of three groups over 72 hours: community dwelling individuals, patients hospitalized post stroke receiving thin liquids and patients hospitalized post stroke receiving thickened liquids.


Mean oral fluid intake differed significantly between the two hospitalized groups (= .04), with individuals receiving thickened liquids consuming less. Less than 1% of patients hospitalized post stroke met a minimum standard of 1500 mL/day, regardless of liquid viscosity. Conversely, community dwelling participants consumed significantly more fluids on average than their hospitalized counterparts.


Compliance with beverage preference, frequency of beverage offering, and inaccurate preparation of thickened beverages were identified as factors potentially influencing fluid intake.