Unfortunately, stroke is an extremely common disease. Around 100 000 people suffer a first-ever stroke each year. Stroke is the third commonest cause of death in the western world and is a major cause of long-term disability. Many patients admitted acutely to hospital after stroke will have a transient or persistent problem with their swallowing. Impaired swallowing results in a failure to maintain nutritional status and hydration, a break-down of vital organs, increasing susceptibility to infection and an increased likelihood of dying.