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Translating ultrasound imaging of swallowing to clinical dysphagia diagnosis

18 months
Approved budget:
Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Health Delivery Research Partnership Project
Lay summary
The “gold standard” in swallowing assessment, videofluoroscopy, has limitations in lack of ease of quantifiable measurement, invasiveness and clinical availability. Ultrasound imaging is non-invasive and less expensive, allowing risk-free and direct quantification of several aspects of swallowing using portable instrumentation. This research programme will pursue translation of ultrasound technology into swallowing assessment using a two stage approach. First, we will validate this technology against videofluoroscopy, develop a normative database and establish inter- and intra-rater reliability. Next, we will translate this technology from the laboratory and into the National Health System clinical service by validating the test in patient populations and developing sensitivity and specificity measures for identifying swallowing impairment. Implementation of this affordable and portable instrumentation offers new options for diagnostic assessment of patients in underserved regions and may decrease the dependence on hospital-based diagnostic by servicing patients in their home environment.