Strategies of Screening and Treating Post-Extubation Dysphagia: An Overview of the Situation in Greek-Cypriot ICUsMeropi Mpouzika, Stelios Iordanou, Maria Kyranou, Katerina Iliopoulou, Stelios Parissopoulos, Maria Kalafati, Maria Karanikola, Elizabeth Papathanassoglou
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Post-extubation dysphagia (PED) can lead to serious health problems in critically ill patients. Contrasting its high incidence rate of 12.4% reported in a recent observational study, many ICUs lack routine bedside screening, likely due to limited awareness. This study aimed to establish baseline data on the current approaches and the status of perceived best practices in PED screening and treatment, as well as to assess awareness of PED. A nationwide cross-sectional, online survey was conducted in all fourteen adult ICUs in the Republic of Cyprus in June 2018, with a 100% response rate. Over 85% of ICUs lacked a standard screening protocol for PED. The most commonly reported assessment methods were cough reflex testing and the water swallow test. Treatment approaches included muscle strengthening exercises without swallowing and swallowing exercises. Only 28.6% of ICUs acknowledged PED as a common issue. The study identified significant gaps in awareness and knowledge regarding PED screening and treatment in Greek-Cypriot ICUs. Urgent implementation of comprehensive dysphagia education programs within the units is necessary, and interdisciplinary collaboration among nurses, intensivists, and speech and language therapists is crucial to improve the quality of care provided.