Change in Spontaneous Swallowing Frequency in HNC Patients Undergoing C/RT

Giselle D. Carnaby, Aarthi Madhavan, Ali Barikroo, Michael Crary

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1 Scopus citations


Objective: This study sought to evaluate the role and trajectory of spontaneous swallowing frequency (SFA) in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) undergoing chemoradiotherapy (C/RT). Study Design. Prospective cohort. Setting: University comprehensive cancer center. Methods: A prospective cohort of 80 patients with HNC was followed from baseline to 3 months post-C/RT. Subjects were evaluated for performance on swallowing function, functional diet consumed, weight, swallowing frequency rate, perceived xerostomia, perceived pain, and mucositis. Relationships were evaluated using univariate correlations, t tests, and repeated-measures analysis of variance. The diagnostic accuracy of SFA to express dysphagia was calculated by area under the curve (AUROC) and displayed using receiver operator characteristic curves. Results: In general, patients with HNC demonstrated a parabolic decline in most measures over the C/RT trajectory. SFA and perceived xerostomia did not show improved recovery by 3 months. SFA was related to swallow function, xerostomia, and functional diet consumed posttreatment and pain at 3 months. The ability of SFA to correctly identify clinical dysphagia (Mann Assessment of Swallowing–Cancer version [MASA-C]) and reduced oral intake (Functional Oral Intake Scale [FOIS]) at posttreatment was strong (AUROC MASA-C: 0.824 [95% CI, 0.63-1.00], P <.0018; AUROC FOIS: 0.96 [95% CI, 0.87-0.96], P <.0001). Conclusion: This exploratory study suggests SFA may provide a useful method to identify dysphagia after HNC treatment. Furthermore, SFA may offer a simple, objective measure of swallowing function change in HNC over the C/RT trajectory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-733
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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