Image-based Measurement of Post-Swallow Residue: The Normalized Residue Ratio Scale

William G. Pearson Jr., Sonja M. Molfenter, Zachary M. Smith and Catriona M. Steele

Online First™, 22 October 2012

Abstract

Post-swallow residue is considered a sign of swallowing impairment. Existing methods for capturing post-swallow residue (perceptual and quantitative) have inherent limitations. We employed several different perceptual and quantitative (ratio) methods for measuring post-swallow residue on the same 40 swallows and addressed the following questions: (1) Do perceptual and quantitative methods demonstrate good agreement? (2) What differences in precision are apparent by measurement method (one-dimensional, two-dimensional, and circumscribed area ratios)? (3) Do residue ratios agree strongly with residue area measures that are anatomically normalized? Based on the findings of this series of questions, a new method for capturing residue is proposed: the Normalized Residue Ratio Scale (NRRS). The NRRS is a continuous measurement that incorporates both the ratio of residue relative to the available pharyngeal space and the residue proportionate to the size of the individual. A demonstration of this method is presented to illustrate the added precision of the NRRS measurement in comparison to other approaches for measuring residue severity.
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