Volume 110, Issue 4, April 2000, Pages: 563–574, Article first published online : 13 MAY 2009.
Objective Aspiration pneumonia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in both acute and long-term care settings. While there are many reasons for patients to develop aspiration pneumonia, there exists a strong association between difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, and the development of aspiration pneumonia. The modified barium swallow test (MBS) and endoscopic evaluations of swallowing are considered to be the most comprehensive tests used to evaluate and manage patients with dysphagia in an effort to reduce the incidence of pneumonia. The purpose of this study was to provide an initial investigation of whether flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing (FEESST) or MBS is superior as the diagnostic test for evaluating and guiding the behavioral and dietary management of outpatients with dysphagia. FEESST combines the standard endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with a technique that determines laryngopharyngeal sensory discrimination thresholds by endoscopically delivering air pulse stimuli to the mucosa innervated by the superior laryngeal nerve.
Study Design Randomized, prospective cohort outcome study in a hospital-based outpatient setting.
Methods One hundred twenty-six outpatients with dysphagia were randomly assigned to either FEESST or MBS as the diagnostic test used to guide dietary and behavioral management (postural changes, small bites and sips, throat clearing). The outcome variables were pneumonia incidence and pneumonia-free interval. The patients were enrolled for 1 year and followed for 1 year.
Results Seventy-eight MBS examinations were performed in 76 patients with 14 patients (18.4%) developing pneumonia; 61 FEESST examinations were performed in 50 patients with 6 patients (12.0%) developing pneumonia. These differences were not statistically significant (ξ2 = 0.93, P = .33). In the MBS group the median pneumonia-free interval was 47 days; in the FEESST group the median pneumonia-free interval was 39 days. Based on Wilcoxon’s signed-rank test, this difference was not statistically significant (z = 0.04, P = .96).
Conclusion Whether dysphagic outpatients have their dietary and behavioral management guided by the results of MBS or of FEESST, their outcomes with respect to pneumonia incidence and pneumonia-free interval are essentially the same.
Changes that occur as a natural part of senescence in the complex action of deglutition predispose us to dysphagia and aspiration. As the “baby-boomers” begin to age, the onset of swallowing difficulties will begin to manifest in a greater number of our population. Recent advances in the evaluation of normal and abnormal swallowing make possible more precise anatomical and physiological diagnoses. Coupled with an understanding of swallowing physiology, such detailed evaluation allows greater opportunity to safely manage dysphagia with directed therapy and appropriate surgical intervention. The current study is a discussion of the changes that occur in deglutition with normal aging, contemporary evaluation of swallowing function, and some of the common causes of dysphagia in elderly patients.
We aimed to investigate whether the type of dysphagia examination (fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing [FEES] or videofluoroscopy) influences the scoring of penetration and aspiration.
Prospective, single-blind study.
Fifteen dysphagic participants were recruited and underwent one FEES and one videofluoroscopy examination, performed and recorded simultaneously. Fifteen independent raters from 12 centers scored penetration and aspiration from recordings using the Penetration Aspiration Scale. Raters were blind to participant details, the pairing of the FEES and videofluoroscopy recordings, and the other raters’ scores. Interrater and intrarater reliability were analyzed using weighted kappa.
The Penetration Aspiration Scale scores were significantly higher for the FEES recordings than for the videofluoroscopy recordings (ANOVA P < .001). The mean difference between the FEES and videofluoroscopy penetration aspiration scores for the same swallows was 1.15 points. Interrater and intrarater reliability ranged from 0.64 to 0.79 (weighted kappa).
Penetration aspiration is perceived to be greater (more severe) from FEES than videofluoroscopy images. The clinical implications are discussed.
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.