Accuracy of a laryngopharyngeal endoscopic esthesiometer (LPEER) for evaluating laryngopharyngeal mechanosensitivity: A validation study in a prospectively recruited cohort of patients
Recent studies have shown an association between alterations in laryngopharyngeal mechanosensitivity (LPMS) and dysphagia, obstructive sleep apnea, and chronic cough hypersensitivity syndrome. A previous reliability study of a new laryngopharyngeal endoscopic esthesiometer and rangefinder (LPEER) showed high intra- and inter-rater reliability; however, its accuracy has not been tested. We performed an accuracy study of the LPEER in a prospectively and consecutively recruited cohort of 118 patients at two tertiary care university hospitals. Most of the patients were suffering from dysphagia, and all of them underwent a standard clinical evaluation and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing with sensory testing (FEESST) using a new sensory testing protocol. The sensory test included determinations of the laryngeal adductor reflex threshold (LART), the cough reflex threshold (CRT) and the gag reflex threshold (GRT). Abnormalities on these reflex thresholds were evaluated for associations with major alterations in swallowing safety (pharyngeal residues, penetration, and aspiration). We evaluated the discriminative capacity of the LPMS test using ROC curves and the area under the curve (AUC-ROC) and its relationship with the eight-point penetration-aspiration scale (PAS) using the Spearman's ¿ correlation coefficient (SCC). We found a positive correlation between the PAS and LART (SCC 0.47; P < 0.001), CRT (SCC 0.46; P < 0.001) and GRT (SCC 0.34; P = 0.002). The AUC-ROC values for detecting a PAS ¿7 were as follows: LART, 0.83 (P < 0.0001); CRT, 0.79 (P < 0.0001); GRT, 0.72 (P < 0.0001). In this study, the LPEER showed good accuracy for evaluating LPMS. These results justify further validation studies in independent populations.