Due to the high risk of choking and aspiration in people with dysphagia, it is necessary to modify the viscosity of liquids by using thickener.
This adaptation or modification of the viscosity of liquids is a basic aspect of the treatment of patients with dysphagia and has a high degree of therapeutic evidence, as it significantly reduces aspiration to the airways and the risk of pneumonia.
The level of modification must be based on evaluation of each individual. A healthcare professional can recommend the most appropriate consistency according to the needs of each patient.
The newest guidelines established 4 levels of viscosity to administer liquids as seen in the table:
Note: Drinks which has consistency that remains stable over time, does not lose their homogeneity and texture should be used in patients with dysphagia. For this reason, special care should be taken when administering drinks have excess water or liquefy partially or totally in the mouth.
- Leonard RJ, White C, McKenzie S, Belafsky PC. Effects of bolus rheology on aspiration in patients with Dysphagia. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014;114(4):590-4.
- Adapted from Complete IDDSI Framework Detailed definitions 2019: https://ftp.iddsi.org/Documents/Complete_IDDSI_Framework_Final_31July2019.pdf