Background: Dysphagia is common after stroke. We aimed to study the prognosis of dysphagia (assessed clinically) over the first 3 months after acute stroke and to determine whether specific neurovascular-anatomical sites were associated with swallowing dysfunction. Methods: We prospectively examined consecutive patients with acute first-ever stroke. The assessment of dysphagia was made using standardized clinical methods. The arterial territories involved were determined on CT/MRI. All patients were followed up for 3 months. Results: 34.7% of 406 patients had dysphagia. Dysphagia was more frequent in patients with hemorrhagic stroke (31/63 vs. 110/343; p = 0.01). In patients with ischemic stroke, the involvement of the arterial territory of the total middle cerebral artery was more frequently associated with dysphagia (28.2 vs. 2.2%; p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis revealed that stroke mortality and disability were independently associated with dysphagia (p < 0.0001). Conclusions: The frequency of dysphagia was relatively high. Regarding anatomical-clinical correlation, the most important factor was the size rather than the location of the lesion. Dysphagia assessed clinically was a significant variable predicting death and disability at 90 days.

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