, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 28-37
Date: 17 Mar 2006

Comparison of Two Methods for Measuring Tongue Pressure During Swallowing in People with Head and Neck Cancer

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Abstract

Reliable measurement tools are essential to achieve rigor in dysphagia research. In order for tongue pressure to be measured accurately in the head and neck cancer population, where change in function needs to be captured over time, a reliable tool is required. Assessing the reliability of tools that are used in swallowing evaluation has been a neglected area of dysphagia research. This article evaluates and compares the reliability of two variants of the Kay Swallowing Workstation (KSW) three-bulb silicon tongue pressure array (hand-held and fixed-position) when used to capture oral tongue pressures in two groups of participants diagnosed with head and neck cancer who had not yet commenced cancer treatment. Tongue pressure data and videofluoroscopic images were collected and recorded simultaneously onto the KSW while participants swallowed set quantities of liquid and pudding boluses. Peak amplitude tongue pressures were extracted and used in analyses. Systematic and nonsystematic variability were examined using analysis of variance and intraclass correlation coefficients, respectively. The fixed-position array demonstrated better reliability than did the hand-held method. This should be further investigated with a larger participant sample.