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In Dysphagia

High-resolution cervical auscultation (HRCA) is an emerging method for non-invasively assessing swallowing by using acoustic signals from a contact microphone, vibratory signals from an accelerometer, and advanced signal processing and machine learning techniques. HRCA has differentiated between safe and unsafe swallows, predicted components of the Modified Barium Swallow Impairment Profile, and predicted kinematic events of swallowing such as hyoid bone displacement, laryngeal vestibular closure, and upper esophageal sphincter opening with a high degree of accuracy. However, HRCA has not been used to characterize swallow function in specific patient populations. This study investigated the ability of HRCA to differentiate between swallows from healthy people and people with neurodegenerative diseases. We hypothesized that HRCA would differentiate between swallows from healthy people and people with neurodegenerative diseases with a high degree of accuracy. We analyzed 170 swallows from 20 patients with neurodegenerative diseases and 170 swallows from 51 healthy age-matched adults who underwent concurrent video fluoroscopy with non-invasive neck sensors. We used a linear mixed model and several supervised machine learning classifiers that use HRCA signal features and a leave-one-out procedure to differentiate between swallows. Twenty-two HRCA signal features were statistically significant (p < 0.05) for predicting whether swallows were from healthy people or from patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Using the HRCA signal features alone, logistic regression and decision trees classified swallows between the two groups with 99% accuracy, 100% sensitivity, and 99% specificity. This provides preliminary research evidence that HRCA can differentiate swallow function between healthy and patient populations.

Donohue Cara, Khalifa Yassin, Perera Subashan, Sejdić Ervin, Coyle James L


Cervical auscultation, Deglutition, Deglutition disorders, Dysphagia, Machine learning, Swallow screening, Videofluoroscopy