A validation study of the Facial-Oral Tract Therapy Swallowing Assessment of Saliva

Clin Rehabil. 2016 Apr;30(4):410-5. doi: 10.1177/0269215515584381. Epub 2015 Apr 28.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rehabilitation / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Saliva*