pp 1–11 | Cite as

Validation and Reliability of the French Version of the Sydney Swallow Questionnaire

  • Nicolas AudagEmail author
  • Christophe Goubau
  • Etienne Danse
  • Laure Vandervelde
  • Giuseppe Liistro
  • Michel Toussaint
  • Gregory Reychler
Original Article


Oropharyngeal dysphagia is frequently under-reported and early detection may lead to adapt strategies of rehabilitation and management decisions. The Sydney Swallow Questionnaire (SSQ), a self-reported questionnaire for the detection and quantification of oropharyngeal dysphagia, was previously adapted and validated in other languages but not in French. The purposes of this study were to develop and validate a French version of SSQ (SSQ-f) and to assess its psychometric properties. This SSQ-f, obtained by back-translation and cross-cultural adaptation, was validated in 27 patients with impaired swallowing and 27 healthy controls. After inclusion, patients filled in the SSQ-f and performed a videofluoroscopic swallow study. The penetration aspiration scale (PAS) and Dysphagia outcome and severity scale (DOSS) were assigned to assess construct validity. Sensitivity and specificity of cut-off scores for the SSQ-f were assessed by the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Moreover, the SSQ-f was repeated after 2 weeks to evaluate its test–retest reliability. The results supported that SSQ-f was considered understandable. Its total score was strongly correlated to the DOSS (r = − 0.873) and to the PAS (r = 0.738). It demonstrated acceptable internal consistency, with Cronbach’s alpha values ranging from 0.744 to 0.956. The test–retest reliability was excellent. According to the ROC curve, cut-off scores of 118.5 or 218.5 were proposed for determining oropharyngeal dysphagia using DOSS as a reference and 755.0, using PAS as reference. No ceiling or floor effects were observed. In conclusion, the SSQ-f is a valid and reliable instrument to measure and detect oropharyngeal dysphagia in French-speaking subjects and can be used in a clinical setting.


Swallowing deglutition disorders Sydney Swallow Questionnaire Validation Assessment French translation 



NA received a Grant from Fund Eliane Lagast and Association Belge contre les Maladies neuro-Musculaires for his PhD Scholarship. CG is supported by the Fondation Saint-Luc. GR received a Grant from Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique, Université Catholique de Louvain.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were approved by the Institutional Medical Ethics Committee (B403201628760) and registered in Clinical Trials (NCT02845362). Participants were recruited on a voluntary basis and without financial compensation. They signed a written informed consent form in accordance with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.and the current guidelines for Clinical Good Practice.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique (IREC)Pôle de Pneumologie, ORL & Dermatologie, Université Catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Service de Médecine physique et réadaptationCliniques universitaires Saint-LucBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Unité de Pneumologie pédiatriqueCliniques universitaires Saint-LucBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Service de PneumologieCliniques universitaires Saint-LucBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.Service de RadiologieCliniques Universitaires Saint-LucBrusselsBelgium
  6. 6.Haute Ecole Léonard de Vinci, PARNASSE-ISEIBrusselsBelgium
  7. 7.Inkendaal Rehabilitation HospitalVlezenbeekBelgium
  8. 8.Cliniques universitaires Saint-LucBrusselsBelgium

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