Cancer Nurs. 2023 Jan 26. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000001205. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Dysphagia is a leading cause of aspiration pneumonia and negatively affects tolerance of chemoradiotherapy in patients with esophageal cancer.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess a protocol for preventing the occurrence of aspiration pneumonia for adult patients with esophageal cancer experiencing swallowing dysfunction.
METHODS: This study tested a dysphagia intervention that included high-risk patients confirmed by the Eating Assessment Tool questionnaire and Water Swallowing Test. A protocol guide (Interventions for Esophageal Dysphagia [IED]) to prevent aspiration pneumonia during chemoradiotherapy was also implemented. Thirty participants were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group. The study period was 50 days; participants were visited every 7 days for a total of 7 times. Instruments for data collection included The Eating Assessment Tool, Water Swallowing Test, and personal information. The IED was administered only to the experimental group. All data were managed using IBM SPSS statistics version 21.0.
RESULTS: The IED significantly reduced the occurrence of aspiration pneumonia (P = .012), delayed the onset of aspiration pneumonia (P = .005), and extended the survival time (P = .007) in the experimental group.
CONCLUSION: For patients with esophageal cancer undergoing chemoradiotherapy, this protocol improved swallowing dysfunction and reduced aspiration pneumonia.
IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE: The IED protocol should be included in continuous educational training for clinical nurses to help them become familiar with these interventions and to provide these strategies to patients.