Reliability of the Pharyngeal Squeeze Maneuver

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Abstract

Objectives:

Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing has been used to assess the integrity of laryngopharyngeal sensory and motor components. The pharyngeal squeeze is a maneuver used during fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing to assess pharyngeal motor function. Although the pharyngeal squeeze manuever has been used in numerous scientific publications, its reliability has not been critically evaluated. Therefore, we sought to evaluate the reliability of the pharyngeal squeeze maneuver.

Methods:

Forty individuals who were undergoing fiberoptic laryngoscopy for various reasons were instructed to perform the pharyngeal squeeze maneuver. Three different clinicians reviewed the videotape on 4 separate occasions. The clinicians were first asked to rate each side of the pharynx as normal, diminished, or absent. They were then instructed to simply rate the maneuver as normal or abnormal. The interobserver and intraobserver reliability of the pharyngeal squeeze maneuver were assessed with the kappa coefficient.

Results:

The mean age of the cohort was 58 years. Fifty-eight percent (23 of 40) were male. When the clinicians were instructed to rate each side of the pharynx as normal, diminished, or absent, the interobserver and intraobserver reliabilities were poor (63% to 68% agreement; kappa = 0.18 to 0.67). When the clinicians were asked to rate the pharyngeal squeeze maneuver as normal or abnormal, both interobserver and intraobserver reliabilities were excellent (85% to 98% agreement; kappa = 0.75 to 0.95).

Conclusions:

The pharyngeal squeeze maneuver displayed poor reliability when motor function was classified into unilateral or bilateral normal, diminished, and absent categories. The pharyngeal squeeze maneuver was very reliable when simply graded as normal or abnormal. Clinicians could not reliably distinguish between diminished and absent pharyngeal motor functions.

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