Original Research

Preliminary psychometric performance of the Neonatal Feeding Assessment Scale

Mari Viviers, Alta Kritzinger, Bart Vinck, Marien Graham
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 64, No 1 | a163 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v64i1.163 | © 2017 Mari Viviers, Alta Kritzinger, Bart Vinck, Marien Graham | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 May 2016 | Published: 30 January 2017

About the author(s)

Mari Viviers, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Alta Kritzinger, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Bart Vinck, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Marien Graham, Department of Statistics, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Objective: The objective was to determine the preliminary psychometric performance of a new clinical feeding scale to diagnose oropharyngeal dysphagia (OPD) in neonates.

Methods: Twenty neonates with a median gestational age of 35 weeks were evaluated using the Neonatal Feeding Assessment Scale (NFAS) and modified barium swallow studies (MBSS). The results were compared.

Results: Nine of the 20 participants presented with OPD on the NFAS. Comparison of the scale’s results with instrumental MBSS indicated that all participants without OPD were correctly excluded (100% sensitivity). The specificity was 78.6%, indicating that three participants were falsely identified with OPD on the scale. Inter-rater reliability was determined on 50% (n = 10) of the sample. Substantial agreement (80%) was obtained between two raters in five of the six sections of the scale and on the diagnostic outcome.

Conclusion: The preliminary performance of the scale appears to be promising. A further validation study will take place.


Keywords

Modified barium swallow study; Neonatal Feeding Assessment Scale, oropharyngeal dysphagia; sensitivity; specificity; inter-rater reliability

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