A Swallowing Clinical Assessment Score (SCAS) to evaluate outpatients with Parkinson’s disease

Fernanda Loureiro, Ana Caline Nóbrega, Marília Sampaio, Natalie Argolo, André Dalbem,
Ailton Melo, Irenio Gomes

Aims: This study proposes a standardized Swallowing Clinical Assessment Score (SCAS)
in PD.
Methods: 174 idiopathic PD patients and 22 controls were evaluated in a transversal study.
The SCAS comprised of twelve items that identify the occurrence of specific alterations in
the oral and pharyngeal phases. Each alteration was given a weight in accordance to its
relevance in compromising the act of swallowing.
Results: The SCAS follows a theoretical scoring system ranging from 0 to 354 points,
where zero corresponds to the ability to swallow without alteration. Scores ≤2 points
indicate normal swallowing; functional swallowing ranges from ≥2 and ≤15 points;
mildly altered ranges from ≥15 and ≤35 points; moderately altered ranges from ≥35
and ≤60 points. Scores in excess of 60 points indicate severe alteration.
Conclusions: The SCAS proposed here is only part of the global assessment of dysphagia.
Its main applications are: to screen swallowing difficulties in PD, even with no complaints,
thus facilitating early diagnosis; to monitor the development of alterations in swallowing
in an objective manner; and to assess the effectiveness of strategies for swallowing
rehabilitation.

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