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J Commun Disord. 2004 Sep-Oct;37(5):437-50.

Is the information about a test important? Applying the methods of evidence-based medicine to the clinical examination of swallowing.

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Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100174, 101 South Newell Drive, Room 2150, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


A hotly debated topic in oropharyngeal dysphagia is the Clinical Swallowing Examination's (CSE) importance in clinical practice. That debate can profit from the application of evidence-based medicine's (EBM) principles and procedures. These can guide both appropriate data collection and interpretation as will be demonstrated in the present report. The study's purpose from which data for this report are drawn was to determine the relationship among signs elicited by a CSE and aspiration on a subsequent videofluoroscopic swallowing examination (VFSE). Sensitivity, specificity; positive and negative predictive values (NPV); likelihood ratios; and post-test probabilities for a variety of signs in isolation and in combinations are reported. These data, if judiciously selected and interpreted contribute to the clinician's knowledge about whether to follow a CSE with a VFSE and about what to expect if the VFSE is completed.


(1) Clinicians will learn how to use EBM principles in conjunction with clinical assessments of swallowing to enhance patient care. (2) Clinicians will learn how to identify combinations of patient signs during he CSE to predict VFSE performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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