The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of age, gender, disease, and multisystem involvement on SpO2 levels of 104 dysphagic patients and 77 nondysphagic persons. Results indicated that solid aspirators had lower SpO2 levels than liquid aspirators, penetrators, and nondysphagics. In addition, SpO2 levels varied by age, with older persons having lower levels than younger persons among dysphagics but not among nondysphagics. Patients with COPD had lower SpO2 levels than dysphagics with other disorders. Significant interactions were found among age, gender, and disease. Multisystem involvement was found not to be a factor in SpO2 levels. It was concluded that although normal aging processes reduce swallowing and pulmonary functioning, it became a significant factor only when combined with an assault to the system, such as CVA or COPD.
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