Laryngo-pharyngeal mechano-sensitivity (LPMS) is involved in dysphagia, sleep apnea, stroke, irritable larynx syndrome and cough hypersensitivity syndrome among other disorders. These conditions are associated with a wide range of airway reflex abnormalities. However, the current device for exploring LPMS is limited because it assesses only the laryngeal adductor reflex during fiber-optic endoscopic evaluations of swallowing and requires a high degree of expertise to obtain reliable results, introducing intrinsic expert variability and subjectivity.
We designed, developed and validated a new air-pulse laryngo-pharyngeal endoscopic esthesiometer with a built-in laser range-finder (LPEER) based on the evaluation and control of air-pulse variability determinants and on intrinsic observer variability and subjectivity determinants of the distance, angle and site of stimulus impact. The LPEER was designed to be capable of delivering precise and accurate stimuli with a wide range of intensities that can explore most laryngo-pharyngeal reflexes.
We initially explored the potential factors affecting the reliability of LPMS tests and included these factors in a multiple linear regression model. The following factors significantly affected the precision and accuracy of the test (P < 0.001): the tube conducting the air-pulses, the supply pressure of the system, the duration of the air-pulses, and the distance and angle between the end of the tube conducti