Objective: To investigate the validity and reliability of the Swallowing Assessment of Saliva in detection of aspiration risk.
Design: Validation study.
Setting: Inpatient neurorehabilitation centre.
Subjects: Adult patients with acquired brain injury. A total of 43 patients for concurrent validity and 33 other patients for inter-rater reliability.
Interventions: Concurrent validity was established with blinded Swallowing Assessment of Saliva and endoscopic evaluation within a 24-hour time interval. Inter-rater reliability was established with two blinded Swallowing Assessments of Saliva within a one-hour time interval.
Main measures: The Swallowing Assessment of Saliva is a seven-item scale with a combination of swallowing and non-swallowing items. It is based on the Facial-Oral Tract Therapy approach.
Results: The Swallowing Assessment of Saliva had a sensitivity of 91%, 95% confidence interval (CI) (59; 100), a specificity of 88% %, 95% CI (71; 97) and a kappa coefficient of 0.87 ±0.17 in detection of aspiration risk. Furthermore, analyses showed that experienced and inexperienced occupational therapists performed equally in detection of aspiration risk.
Conclusion: The Swallowing Assessment of Saliva is a simple, sensitive and reliable assessment for detecting aspiration risk in patients with acquired brain injury.
Keywords: Dysphagia; Facial-Oral Tract Therapy; assessment; brain injury; validity.
© The Author(s) 2015.