Aspiration screening in motor neuron disease: Preliminary results from utilization of the yale swallow protocol

Kendrea L.Focht Garand, Debra M. Suiter, Stephanie Reyes, Justine Dallal York, I. Hweii Amy Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Dysphagia is a common symptom experienced by patients with motor neuron disease (MND). The Yale Swallow Protocol (YSP) is a validated screening instrument for identifying patients at risk for aspiration. The purpose of this exploratory cross-sectional, multicenter study was to investigate how the YSP results in identifying aspiration risk in patients with MND in comparison with aspiration observed during a videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS). Method: Participants referred for VFSS as part of clinical management were recruited from four specialized MND clinics. All participants were administered the YSP immediately prior to the VFSS by a speech-language pathologist, with results recorded as pass or fail. Aspiration on VFSS was determined using the Penetration-Aspiration Scale (scores 6-8). A 2 × 2 contingency table was constructed to compare results of YSP with those on VFSS. Results: Thirty-one patients with MND (13 males, 18 females; Mage = 64 ± 12 years) referred for VFSS participated in this study. Of the 22 patients who failed the YSP, interrupted drinking was the most frequent reason (65%). Compared to the VFSS, the YSP yielded a sensitivity of 80%, a specificity of 33%, positive predictive value of 36%, and negative predictive value of 78%. Conclusions: The YSP is a simple tool and easy to utilize and has a high sensitivity in identifying aspiration risk in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A future investigation with a larger sample size is needed to better investigate the utility of YSP as a screening tool for this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2693-2699
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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