Screening and evaluation tools of dysphagia in adults with neuromuscular diseases: a systematic review

Audag N, Goubau C, Toussaint M, Reychler G. Screening and evaluation tools of dysphagia in adults with neuromuscular diseases: a systematic review. Therapeutic advances in chronic disease 2019;10:2040622318821622.

Audag_2019_Ther Adv Chronic Dis. Jan 31;10;2040622318821622



Background: The purpose of this systematic review was to summarize the different dysphagia screening and evaluation tools, and to identify their measurement properties in adults with neuromuscular diseases (NMDs).

Methods: A systematic review was performed based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The search strategy was conducted across three databases (PubMed, CINAHL and ScienceDirect). Measurement properties of each tools and the Quality Index, developed by Downs and Black, were considered for the different investigated studies.

Results: The search strategy produced 2221 articles. After removal of duplicates and full-text analysis, 19 studies were included. Most of the publications focused on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; n = 10) and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD; n = 4). A total of 12 tools, listed as instrumental and noninstrumental examinations, were retrieved. A total of five of them used videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS). Measurement properties of the tools are not completely described in detail in many studies. The neuromuscular disease swallowing status scale, a noninstrumental tool, is the only one that assessed all measurement properties in ALS patients. The median score reported for the Quality Index was 16.

Conclusions: This systematic review identified 12 different tools for the screening and evaluation of dysphagia in adults with NMD. Majority of the studies presented VFSS as a valid and reliable examination to assess dysphagia in ALS and DMD. Other tools were mainly evaluated in ALS patients, but further studies are needed to complete their measurement properties. In other NMDs, no firm conclusion can be made because of insufficient data and heterogeneity of NMDs.

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