Dysphagia is common after stroke. Fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) is a powerful tool for dysphagia assessment. The purpose of this study was to assess whether a previously established endoscopic examination protocol based on the identification of typical findings indicative of stroke – related dysphagia may be learned and adopted by clinicians so far inexperienced in this field.
After receiving a structured lecture on this topic, participants were asked to rate video sequences of endoscopic swallowing examinations of acute stroke patients. The first part of the testing ("single findings-rating") comprised of 16 single sequences, the second part ("complete examination-rating") presented the key sequences of 8 complete examinations. Before the second part was started, results of the first were discussed.
At the "single findings-rating" 88.8% of video-sequences were assessed correctly, while at the "complete examination-rating" the average performance had improved to 96%. Furthermore, no overlooking of relevant pathologies was noted in the second part of the testing.
This study suggests that the presented endoscopic examination protocol is reliably interpreted by inexperienced clinicians after a short lecture and may therefore easily and successfully be adopted in dysphagia management of acute stroke care.