BACKGROUND: Anoxic brain injury (ABI) is a neurological condition associated to a severe deterioration of brain functioning, whose symptomatology and clinical outcomes may be heterogeneous: cognitive deficits, language disorders like dysarthria and swallowing impairments. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of information on the rehabilitation outcomes.
OBJECTIVE: To confirm the occurrence of communication and swallowing deficits in 37 ABI patients and to examine whether intensive rehabilitation may contribute to any improvements and its relation to ABI severity and functional autonomy.
METHODS: 37 patients, hospitalized at IRCCS San Camillo Hospital from 2011 to 2018 were analyzed retrospectively. All patients completed a functional evaluation and a language and swallowing assessment, within one week from hospital admission (T0). The assessment was repeated after an intensive rehabilitation treatment (T1).
RESULTS: Results show that dysphagia is a frequent and severe outcome in anoxic patients, whereas communication disorders (aphasia and dysarthria) are less severe. Moreover, ABI patients seem to be positively sensitive to an intensive rehabilitation program.
CONCLUSIONS: An early multidisciplinary management of communicative-linguistic and swallowing functions is crucial in order to prevent adverse events and to plan a tailored rehabilitation pathway.