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Oral Oncol. 2010 Apr;46(4):e10-4. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Mar 9.

Validation of the Sydney Swallow Questionnaire (SSQ) in a cohort of head and neck cancer patients.

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Head and Neck Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital, Fulham Road, London, SW3 6JJ, UK.


Impairment of swallowing function is a common multidimensional symptom complex seen in 50-75% of head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors. Although there are a number of validated swallowing-specific questionnaires, much of their focus is on the evaluation of swallowing-related quality of life (QOL) rather than swallowing as a specific function. The aim of this study was to validate the Sydney Swallow Questionnaire (SSQ) as a swallowing-specific instrument in HNC patients. Fifty-four consecutive patients in follow-up for oral and oropharyngeal cancer completed the SSQ and MD Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI). Thirty-one patients completed both questionnaires again four weeks later to address test-retest reliability. Internal consistency and test-retest reliability was assessed using Cronbach's alpha and Spearman's correlation coefficient, respectively. Construct validity (including group validity) and criterion validity were determined using Spearman's correlation coefficient and Mann-Whitney U-test. Internal consistency, test-retest reliability, construct validity, group validity and criterion validity of the SSQ was found to be significant (P<0.01). We were able to demonstrate the reliability and validity of the SSQ in HNC patients. The SSQ is a precise, reliable and valid tool for assessing swallow in this patient group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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