A Comparison of the Reliability and Stability of Oro-lingual Swallowing Pressures in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer and Healthy Adults
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.
KeywordsReliability Oro-lingual swallowing pressures Head and neck cancer Dysphagia Deglutition Deglutition disorders
GRECC Manuscript # 2007-21 (Joanne Robbins).
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