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Utility of ultrasound in the assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function: A rapid review and critical appraisal of the literature

Allen, Jodi E; Clunie, Gemma M; Slinger, Claire; Haines, Jemma; Mossey-Gaston, Corinne; Zaga, Chariss J; Scott, Becky; ... Govender, Roganie; + view all (2021) Utility of ultrasound in the assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function: A rapid review and critical appraisal of the literature. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders , 56 (1) pp. 174-204. 10.1111/1460-6984.12584. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Ultrasound (US) is not widely used as part of the speech and language therapy (SLT) clinical toolkit. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified interest in US as an alternative to SLT instrumental tools such as the videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS), fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) and endoscopic evaluation of the larynx (EEL) as a non-invasive, non-aerosol-generating procedure that can be delivered at the bedside to assess swallowing and/or laryngeal function. To establish the appropriacy of routine US use, and in response to a national professional body request for a position statement, a group of expert SLTs conducted a rapid review of the literature. AIM: To explore critically the clinical utility of US as an assessment tool for swallowing and laryngeal function in adults. METHODS & PROCEDURES: A rapid review of four databases was completed to identify articles using US to assess swallowing and/or laryngeal function in adults compared with reference tests (VFSS/FEES/EEL/validated outcome measure). Screening was completed according to predefined inclusion/exclusion criteria and 10% of abstracts were rescreened to assess reliability. Data were extracted from full texts using a predeveloped form. The QUADAS-2 tool was used for quality ratings. Information from included studies was summarized using narrative synthesis and visual illustration. OUTCOMES & RESULTS: Ten papers used US to assess swallowing, and 13 to assess laryngeal function. All were peer-reviewed primary studies across a range of clinical populations and with a wide geographical spread. Four papers had an overall low risk of bias, but the remaining 19 had at least one domain where risk of bias was judged as high or unclear. Applicability concerns were identified in all papers. The papers that used US to assess swallowing varied widely in terms of the anatomical structures assessed and methodology employed. The papers assessing laryngeal function were more homogenous in their methodology. Sensitivity and specificity data were provided for 12 of the laryngeal function papers with ranges of 64.3–100% and 48.5–100%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: There is burgeoning evidence to support the use of US as an adjunct to SLT clinical assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function. However, the current literature does not support its use as a tool in isolation. Further research is required to establish reliability in US assessment as well as clear SLT-driven protocols and training.

Type: Article
Title: Utility of ultrasound in the assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function: A rapid review and critical appraisal of the literature
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1460-6984.12584
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12584
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Acquired, adults, dysarthria, dysphagia, neurodegenerative diseases
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10158956
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