Association Between Objective Ratings of Swallowing and Dysphagia-Specific Quality of Life in Patients Receiving (Chemo)radiotherapy for Oropharyngeal Cancer

Laurelie R. Wishart, Grace B. Harris, Nabeela Cassim, Stephanie Alimin, Ting Liao, Bena Brown, Elizabeth C. Ward, Rebecca L. Nund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pervasive nature of dysphagia in the head/neck cancer (HNC) population necessitates a comprehensive evaluation approach, including both objective assessment of dysphagia, and subjective patient-reported functional measures. However, the congruence between clinician-rated and patient-perceived function is still not well understood. The current study investigated the association between objective clinician-rated swallow physiology (using the MBSImP) and patient-reported measures of swallowing-related quality of life (using the MDADI) in a secondary analysis of patients with oropharyngeal HNC treated with (chemo)radiotherapy. Seventy-nine patients with oropharyngeal HNC receiving (chemo)radiotherapy completed a standardised videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) rated using the MBSImP, and the MDADI, at pre-treatment (baseline), 6 weeks and 3 months post-treatment as per a previous prospective RCT. Data on n = 67 participants were analysed as part of the secondary analysis. Association between MBSImP oral and pharyngeal composite scores versus MDADI Global and subscale scores was examined using ordinary least squares regression and mixed-effects general linear modelling (GLM). Univariable analyses demonstrated significant associations between MBSImP oral composite scores and each of the MDADI subscales, as well as the MBSImP pharyngeal composite scores and all MDADI subscales. GLM analysis revealed significant associations were maintained between MBSImP pharyngeal scores and the MDADI global and emotional subscale scores at the multivariable level, with the physical subscale trending towards significance. No significant association was observed between the MBSImP oral composite scores and any of the MDADI subscales at the multivariable level. This study found significant associations between objective measures of pharyngeal swallow physiology and patient-perceived swallowing-related quality of life. These findings suggest a higher degree of concordance between clinician-rated and patient-reported measures up to 3 months post-(C)RT than previously reported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1021
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Early online dateOct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


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