Abstract 68: Bedside Dysphagia Screening Tool Validation Study

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Background: Dysphagia or difficulty swallowing occurs in up to 50% of patients with acute stroke symptoms. Dysphagia screening is considered standard stroke care. Few dysphagia screening tools have been well validated with high sensitivity and specificity.Purpose: The purpose was to validate our system’s dysphagia screening tool.Methods: From August 17, 2015 through September 30, 2015, bedside dysphagia screening was prospectively performed by 2 blinded nurses on all patients age ≥18 years admitted through the emergency department with stroke symptoms at 22 stroke centers in an integrated healthcare system. The tool consisted of three parts: history, physical exam and progressive testing from ice chips to water. A speech language pathologist blinded to the results performed an evaluation on the same patient. Patients with a feeding tube or intubation on arrival, treated with alteplase, or were discharged with a diagnosis other than stroke were excluded from final study analyses. The study quantified the reproducibility of the dysphagia screening tool by computing the percent agreement and kappa score for inter-rater reliability. Validity of dysphagia screening tool was determined using the speech pathologist evaluation as the reference standard. We assessed the sensitivity, specificity, and negative (NPV) and positive predictive values (PPV) for the dysphagia screening tool. The point estimate and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated.Results: Dysphagia screening was performed in 726 patients with stroke symptoms. There were 370 patients included in the analysis. Average age was 70 ± 14 years, and 48.2% female. Inter-rater reliability of the dysphagia screen was excellent between both raters at 93.5% agreement (k’= 0.83). The screen performed well when compared to speech language pathologist evaluation, demonstrating both high sensitivity (86.4%, CI: 73.3% to 93.6%) and high NPV (93.6%, CI: 86.8% to 97.0%).Conclusion: Our bedside dysphagia screening tool is highly reliable and valid. The tool had been used in over thirty-five facilities since 2007. The hospital acquired pneumonia rate for ischemic stroke patients has averaged 2-3% a year. This dysphagia screening tool requires minimal training and is easily administered in a timely manner.

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