The Prediction of Risk of Penetration–Aspiration Via Hyoid Bone Displacement Features
Videofluoroscopic swallow studies are widely used in clinical and research settings to assess swallow function and to determine physiological impairments, diet recommendations, and treatment goals for people with dysphagia. Videofluoroscopy can be used to analyze biomechanical events of swallowing, including hyoid bone displacement, to differentiate between normal and disordered swallow functions. Previous research has found significant associations between hyoid bone displacement and penetration/aspiration during swallowing, but the predictive value of hyoid bone displacement during swallowing has not been explored. The primary objective of this study was to build a model based on aspects of hyoid bone displacement during swallowing to predict the extent of airway penetration or aspiration during swallowing. Aspects of hyoid bone displacement from 1433 swallows from patients referred for videofluoroscopy were analyzed to determine which aspects predicted risk of penetration and aspiration according to the Penetration–Aspiration Scale. A generalized estimating equation incorporating components of hyoid bone displacement and variables shown to impact penetration and aspiration (such as age, bolus volume, and viscosity) was used to evaluate penetration and aspiration risk. Results indicated that anterior-horizontal hyoid bone displacement was the only aspect of hyoid bone displacement predictive of penetration and aspiration risk. Further research should focus on improving the model performance by identifying additional physiological swallowing events that predict penetration and aspiration risk. The model built for this study, and future modified models, will be beneficial for clinicians to use in the assessment and treatment of people with dysphagia, and for potentially tracking improvement in hyolaryngeal excursion resulting from dysphagia treatment, thus mitigating adverse outcomes that can occur secondary to dysphagia.