Inter-rater Agreement of Clinicians’ Treatment Recommendations Based on Modified Barium Swallow Study Reports

Laurie Slovarp, Jennifer Danielson, Julie Liss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The modified barium swallow study (MBSS) is a commonly used radiographic procedure for diagnosis and treatment of swallowing disorders. Despite attempts by dysphagia specialists to standardize the MBSS, most institutions have not adopted such standardized procedures. High variability of assessment patterns arguably contribute to variability of treatment recommendations made from diagnostic information derived from the MBSS report. An online survey was distributed to speech-language pathologists (SLPs) participating in American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) listservs. Sixty-three SLPs who treat swallowing disorders participated. Participating SLPs reviewed two MBSS reports and chose physiologic treatment targets (e.g., tongue base retraction) based on each report. One report primarily contained symptomatology (e.g., aspiration, pharyngeal residue) with minimal information on impaired physiology (e.g., laryngeal incompetence, reduced hyolaryngeal elevation/excursion). In contrast, the second report contained a clear description of impaired physiology to explain the dysphagia symptoms. Fleiss kappa coefficients were used to analyze inter-rater agreement across the high and low physiology report types. Results revealed significantly higher inter-rater agreement across clinicians when reviewing reports with clear explanation(s) of physiologic impairment relative to reports that primarily focused on symptomatology. Clinicians also reported significantly greater satisfaction and treatment confidence following review of reports with clear description(s) of impaired physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
StateAccepted/In press - Jun 7 2018


  • Compensatory
  • Dysphagia
  • Inter-rater agreement
  • Modified barium swallow
  • Physiologic impairment
  • Restorative
  • Swallowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Inter-rater Agreement of Clinicians’ Treatment Recommendations Based on Modified Barium Swallow Study Reports'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this