Key summary pointsAimOur aim was to investigate which swallowing difficulty of food consistency in older people who did not have any disease that might affect swallowing functions, and which symptoms were most likely related to oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) risk.FindingsWe have found that the eating/drinking difficulty of thick liquids was the highest predictive value with respect to OD risk and the eating difficulty of mixed content food had the highest diagnostic ratio.MessageThe present study reports that even in older person who do not go to the hospital with the complaints of swallowing difficulty, the difficulty of swallowing thick liquids and especially the mixed content food should be questioned. AbstractPurposeThe present study aimed to investigate which swallowing difficulty of food consistency in participants over 65years of age who did not have any disease that might affect swallowing functions, and which symptoms were most likely related to oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD).MethodsThe cross-sectional and multicenter study was conducted at 12 hospitals including 883 participants aged >= 65years who were fed orally and who were admitted to the physical medicine and rehabilitation outpatient clinics between September 2017 and December 2018. Demographic characteristics were recorded. Katz Daily Living Activities Index (KDLAI), swallowing-related quality of life scale (Swal-QoL) and 10-item Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10) were used. The participants were asked the yes or no questions including swallowing difficulty of various types of food consistency with the face-to-face interview.ResultsParticipants were divided into two groups as normal swallowing (EAT-10<3 group) (n=639) and OD risk groups (EAT-10 >= 3 group) (n=244) according to the EAT-10 scores. While there was no difference related to number of teeth and KDLAI scores between groups (p=0.327 and p=0.221, respectively), the significant difference was found between groups in terms of yes/no questions and Swal-QoL scores (p<0.05). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that eating difficulty of mixed content food provided maximum sensitivity (99%) and eating/drinking difficulty of thick liquid had maximum specificity (77%). The higher area under curve was in eating/drinking difficulty of thick liquid (0.891), and higher positive likelihood ratio (LR) was eating/drinking difficulty of thick liquid (4.26) as well as lower negative LR was eating difficulty of mixed content food (0.01). The higher diagnostic odds ratio was eating difficulty of mixed content food (367.0), and the higher posttest probability was eating/drinking difficulty of thick liquid (0.211).ConclusionWhile eating difficulty of hard solid food is the most common symptom in healthy participants over 65years of age, the eating difficulty of thick liquids is the highest predictive value related to oropharyngeal dysphagia risk. Also, the eating difficulty of mixed content food had the highest diagnostic ratio.