A Comparison of the Reliability and Stability of Oro-lingual Swallowing Pressures in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer and Healthy Adults
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- White, R., Cotton, S.M., Hind, J. et al. Dysphagia (2009) 24: 137. doi:10.1007/s00455-008-9181-0
The ability to measure normality and abnormality and to accurately assess true changes in swallowing function over time, is important for the management of dysphagia. Despite this, there is a paucity of information regarding the stability and reliability of measurements tools used for dysphagia research. As both head and neck (H&N) cancer and its treatment(s) have been shown to significantly affect deglutitive tongue function, it is important that we have a reliable method to measure swallowing tongue function in this population. In this study we evaluate the reliability and stability of oro-lingual swallowing pressures captured from H&N cancer patients and from healthy, age- and gender-matched controls using the Kay Swallowing Workstation (KSW) fixed, three-transducer tongue pressure array. Significant differences between the two samples (H&N cancer and controls), with respect to mean peak oro-lingual pressures were recorded during swallowing. Furthermore, reliability of these measures was lower in H&N cancer patients. These differences highlight the importance of obtaining information about the reliability of dysphagia assessment tools with the specific population with whom they will be used.