Oropharyngeal Dysphagia Evaluation Tools in Adults with Solid Malignancies Outside the Head and Neck and Upper GI Tract: A Systematic Review
Kenny, C., Gilheaney, O., Walsh, D., and Regan, J.
Dysphagia is often associated with head and neck and upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract cancers. Evidence suggests that those with solid malignancies in other primary sites may also have swallowing difficulties. Timely and accurate identification of dysphagia is important given the impact it has on hydration, medical treatment, nutrition, prognosis, and quality of life. A systematic review was conducted to identify swallow screening, evaluation, and quality of life tools for those with solid malignancies outside the head and neck and upper GI tract. Ten electronic databases, one journal and two published conference proceedings were searched. Following deduplication, 7435 studies were examined for relevance. No tools were validated solely in this cancer population, though some included this group in larger cohorts. Comments are provided on the diagnostic properties and applicability of these tools. In the absence of appropriate diagnostic instruments, the exact prevalence of dysphagia and its impact on clinical and psychosocial well-being remain unknown. Accurate and adequate measurement of therapeutic intervention is also compromised. This review establishes the need for validated dysphagia evaluation tools for this clinical population.