Defining and measuring dysphagia following stroke

Daniels SK, Schroeder MF, DeGeorge PC, Corey DM, Foundas AL, Rosenbek JC.

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2009 Feb;18(1):74-81. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To continue the development of a quantified, standard method to differentiate individuals with stroke and dysphagia from individuals without dysphagia.

METHOD:

Videofluoroscopic swallowing studies (VFSS) were completed on a group of participants with acute stroke (n = 42) and healthy age-matched individuals (n = 25). Calibrated liquid volumes of 3, 5, 10, and 20 ml were administered during the VFSS. Six measures in 3 domains of bolus flow (timing, direction, and clearance) were measured. Values of these measures obtained from the control group were used to classify dysphagia within the participants.

RESULTS:

The use of a single measure or single liquid volumes to classify dysphagia did not distinguish between healthy adults and individuals following stroke with and without dysphagia. Abnormality on more than 1 measure across multiple volumes appears to be a more robust method in defining dysphagia for liquids.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings indicate that the definition of dysphagia is critical in determining whether persons are classified with disordered swallowing. The definition is dependent on materials and measures evaluated. Each measure provides independent aspects to the evaluation. Determining the level of importance of each depends on the purpose of the evaluation.

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