White Paper by the European Society for Swallowing Disorders: Screening and Non-instrumental Assessment for Dysphagia in Adults

This White Paper by the European Society for Swallowing Disorders (ESSD) reports on the current state of screening and non-instrumental assessment for dysphagia in adults. An overview is provided on the measures that are available, and how to select screening tools and assessments. Emphasis is placed on different types of screening, patient-reported measures, assessment of anatomy and physiology of the swallowing act, and clinical swallowing evaluation. Many screening and non-instrumental assessments are available for evaluating dysphagia in adults; however, their use may not be warranted due to poor diagnostic performance or lacking robust psychometric properties. This white paper provides recommendations on how to select best evidence-based screening tools and non-instrumental assessments for use in clinical practice targeting different constructs, target populations and respondents, based on criteria for diagnostic performance, psychometric properties (reliability, validity, and responsiveness), and feasibility. In addition, gaps in research that need to be addressed in future studies are discussed. The following recommendations are made: (1) discontinue the use of non-validated dysphagia screening tools and assessments; (2) implement screening using tools that have optimal diagnostic performance in selected populations that are at risk of dysphagia, such as stroke patients, frail older persons, patients with progressive neurological diseases, persons with cerebral palsy, and patients with head and neck cancer; (3) implement measures that demonstrate robust psychometric properties; and (4) provide quality training in dysphagia screening and assessment to all clinicians involved in the care and management of persons with dysphagia.


Renée Speyer, Reinie Cordier, Daniele Farneti, Weslania Nascimento, Walmari Pilz, Eric Verin, Margaret Walshe & Virginie Woisard


Journal: Dysphagia
Pages: -
Year: 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s00455-021-10283-7

Further Study Information

Current Stage: Completed
Funding source(s):

Health Area

Disease Category: Ear, nose, & throat

Disease Name: Dysphagia

Target Population

Age Range: 18 - 120

Sex: Either

Nature of Intervention: Any

Stakeholders Involved

Study Type

- Recommendations for outcome measures (measurement/how)
- Overview of literature


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