, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 137–144 | Cite as

A Comparison of the Reliability and Stability of Oro-lingual Swallowing Pressures in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer and Healthy Adults

  • Ruth White
  • Susan M. Cotton
  • Jackie Hind
  • JoAnne Robbins
  • Alison Perry
Original Article


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.


Reliability Oro-lingual swallowing pressures Head and neck cancer Dysphagia Deglutition Deglutition disorders 



GRECC Manuscript # 2007-21 (Joanne Robbins).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth White
    • 1
  • Susan M. Cotton
    • 2
  • Jackie Hind
    • 3
  • JoAnne Robbins
    • 3
  • Alison Perry
    • 4
  1. 1.Speech and Language Therapy DepartmentABM University NHS TrustSwanseaUK
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, ORYGEN Research CentreUniversity of MelbourneVictoriaAustralia
  3. 3.University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans’ HospitalMadisonUSA
  4. 4.School of Human Communication Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesLa Trobe UniversityVictoriaAustralia

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