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Einstein (São Paulo)

Print version ISSN 1679-4508On-line version ISSN 2317-6385


ALVARENGA, Frederico de Lima; HADDAD, Leonardo; SILVA, Daniel Marcus San da  and  ALVARENGA, Eliézia Helena de Lima. Physicians’ behavior regarding non-acceptance of oral restriction (nil per os) by dysphagic patient with risk of laryngotracheal aspiration. Einstein (São Paulo) [online]. 2020, vol.18, eAO4952.  Epub Jan 10, 2020. ISSN 1679-4508.


To define physician´s behavior in the face of a mentally capable elderly dysphagic patients at risk of pulmonary aspiration, who do not accept oral restriction.


Observational, cross-sectional study, presenting a clinical case of an independent elderly with clinical complaints of dysphagia and laryngotracheal aspiration by flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing who rejected the proposal to restrict oral diet. A questionnaire about the patient's decision-making process was used to assess whether the physician was sympathetic and justify their answer, and if they are aware of hierarchy of ethical principles (recognition of the person´s value, autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice), in the decision-making process, and which was the main principle that guided their decision.


One hundred participants were classified by time since graduation as Group I (less than 10 years) and Group II (more than 10 years). Of them, 60% agreed with the patient's decision, with no difference between the groups. The main reason was autonomy of patients, in both groups. Among those who were not sympathetic, the main argument was beneficence and nonmaleficence, considering the risk between benefit and harm. As to awareness about the hierarchy of principles, we did not find differences between the groups. Autonomy was the principle that guided those who were sympathetic with the patient's decision, and justice among those who didnot agree.


Physicians were sympathetic with the patient's decision regarding autonomy, despite the balance between risks of beneficence and nonmaleficence, including death. We propose to formalize a non-compliance term.

Keywords : Deglutition disorders; Bioethics; Dysphagia; Aged; Personal autonomy.

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