Adults with COPD frequently present with dysphagia, which often leads to clinical complications and hospital admissions. This study investigates the ability of the Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10) to predict aspiration during objective dysphagia evaluation in adults with stable COPD. Thirty adults (20 male, 10 female; mean age = 69.07 ± 16.82) with stable COPD attended an outpatient dysphagia clinic for a fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) in an acute teaching hospital (January 2015–November 2016). During evaluations, individuals completed an EAT-10 rating scale followed immediately by a standardised FEES exam. Aspiration status during FEES was rated using the penetration–aspiration scale by clinicians blinded to EAT-10 scores. Data were retrospectively analysed. Significant differences in mean EAT-10 scores were found between aspirators (16.3; SEM = 2.165) and non-aspirators (7.3; SEM = 1.009) (p = 0.000). The EAT-10 predicted aspiration with a high level of accuracy (AUC = 0.88). An EAT-10 cut-off value of >9 presented a sensitivity of 91.67, specificity of 77.78 with positive and negative likelihood ratios of 4.12 and 0.11, respectively. Positive and negative predictive values were 73.30 and 93.30, respectively. Diagnostic odds ratio was 38.50 (p < 0.01, CI 3.75–395.42). EAT-10 is a quick, easy to administer tool, which can accurately predict the presence of aspiration in adults with COPD. The scale can also very accurately exclude the absence of aspiration, helping clinicians to determine the need for onward referral for a comprehensive dysphagia evaluation. This may ultimately reduce clinical complications and hospital admissions resulting from dysphagia in this clinical population.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Diagnostic accuracy