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South African Journal of Communication Disorders

On-line version ISSN 2225-4765
Print version ISSN 0379-8046


VIVIERS, Mari; KRITZINGER, Alta; VINCK, Bart  and  GRAHAM, Marien. Preliminary psychometric performance of the Neonatal Feeding Assessment Scale. S. Afr. J. Commun. Disord. [online]. 2017, vol.64, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 2225-4765.

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.

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