Which One of These Is Not Like the Others? An Inter-Hospital Study of the Viscosity of Thickened Fluids

Cichero, Julie A. Y.; Jackson, Oliver; Halley, Peter J.; Murdoch, Bruce E.
April 2000
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2000, Vol. 43 Issue 2, p537
Academic Journal
This investigation examined the rheological (viscosity and yield stress) and material property (density) characteristics of the thickened meal-time and videofluorscopy fluids provided by 10 major metropolitan hospitals. Differences in the thickness of thickened fluids were considered as a source of variability and potential hazard for inter-hospital transfers of dysphagic patients. The results indicated considerable differences in the viscosity, density, and yield stress of both meal-time and videofluoroscopy fluids. In theory, the results suggest that dysphagic patients transferred between hospitals could be placed on inappropriate levels of fluid thickness because of inherent differences in the rheology and material property characteristics of the fluids provided by different hospitals. Slowed improvement or medical complications are potential worst-case scenarios for dysphagic patients if the difference between the thick fluids offered by 2 hospitals are extreme. The investigation outlines the most appropriate way to assess the rheological and material property characteristics of thickened fluids. In addition, it suggests a plan of quality improvement to reduce the variability of the thickness of fluids offered at different hospitals.


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