The accuracy of the modified Evans blue dye test in detecting aspiration in head and neck cancer patients

Winklmaier U, Wüst K, Plinkert PK, Wallner F.

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2007 Sep;264(9):1059-64. Epub 2007 Apr 13.


The purpose of this study was to determine sensitivity and specificity of the modified Evans blue dye test (MEBDT) in tracheostomised patients after treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This was a prospective study with 30 consecutive patients. All individuals underwent a MEBDT and a subsequent fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) immediately after the MEBDT for reconsidering the validity of the MEBDT. Aspiration was present in 20 patients documented by MEBDT and FEES. One patient was judged to aspirate by FEES but not by MEBDT (1 false-negative result). Nine patients showed no aspiration either by MEBDT or by FEES. The sensitivity of the MEBDT protocol in predicting aspiration among individuals in our cohort was 95.24%, the specificity 100%, respectively. The results of the current investigation suggest that the MEBDT is much more sensitive in tracheostomised HNSCC patients than in tracheostomised neurological patients. The MEBDT for tracheostomised HNSCC patients offers a quick and reliable method to identify aspiration risk in cases of severe dysphagia.


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