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      Repetitive Saliva Swallowing Test Predicts COPD Exacerbation

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          Predicting phenotypes at risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation is extremely important. Dysphagia is becoming recognized as one of these phenotypes. A convenient method of screening for dysphagia and COPD exacerbation risk is desired. The repetitive saliva swallowing test (RSST) is one of the least invasive dysphagia screening methods. We previously reported the possible relation between the RSST result and COPD exacerbation in a retrospective study. Based on this, we performed a prospective study to evaluate the efficacy of RSST as a predictor of COPD exacerbation and to determine its optimal cut-off value for COPD.


          Seventy patients with COPD were recruited. Patients underwent the following dysphagia screening tests: the 10-item Eating Assessment Tool, Frequency Scale for the Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, RSST, water swallowing test, and simple swallow provocation test. After one year, they were classified into two groups according to the presence of COPD exacerbation during the follow-up period.


          Twenty-seven patients had one or more exacerbations in the past year. During the follow-up period, 28 patients had one or more exacerbations (E group), and 42 had none (non-E group). There were no significant differences between the groups except for the presence of past exacerbations and the results of the RSST, when the cut-off value was set at 2, 3, 4, or 5 swallows. The number of swallows in the RSST was significantly lower in the E group than in the Non-E group. A cut-off value of 5 was the most effective. The time to first exacerbation was significantly longer in those with an RSST value of >5. The RSST was more reliable for differentiating the E group and non-E group than the presence of exacerbation in the past year (hazard ratios: 13.78 and 2.70, respectively).


          An RSST cut-off value of 5 may be a strong predictor of COPD exacerbation.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Development and evaluation of FSSG: frequency scale for the symptoms of GERD.

          The aim of this study was to produce a simplified questionnaire for evaluation of the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A total of 124 patients with an endoscopic diagnosis of GERD completed a 50-part questionnaire, requiring only "yes" or "no" answers, that covered various symptoms related to the upper gastrointestinal tract, as well as psychosomatic symptoms. The 12 questions to which patients most often answered "yes" were selected, and were assigned scores (never = 0; occasionally = 1; sometimes = 2; often = 3; and always = 4) to produce a frequency scale for symptoms of GERD (FSSG). Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the FSSG questionnaire were evaluated in another group of patients with GERD and non-GERD. The usefulness of this questionnaire was evaluated in 26 other GERD patients who were treated with proton pump inhibitors for 8 weeks. When the cutoff score was set at 8 points, the FSSG showed a sensitivity of 62%, a specificity of 59%, and an accuracy of 60%, whereas a cutoff score of 10 points altered these values to 55%, 69%, and 63%. The score obtained using the questionnaire correlated well with the extent of endoscopic improvement in patients with mild or severe GERD. This new questionnaire is useful for the objective evaluation of symptoms in GERD patients.
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            The Repetitive Saliva Swallowing Test (RSST) as a Screening Test of Functional Dysphagia. (2). Validity of RSST.

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              The Repetitive Saliva Swallowing Test (RSST) as a Screening Test of Functional Dysphagia. (1). Normal Values of RSST.


                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                04 December 2019
                : 14
                : 2777-2785
                [1 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Iizuka Hospital , Fukuoka 820-8505, Japan
                [2 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine , Tokyo 113-8431, Japan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Yuki Yoshimatsu Department of Respiratory Medicine, Iizuka Hospital , 3-83 Yoshio Iizuka, Fukuoka820-8505, JapanTel +81 948 22 3800Fax +81 948 29 5744 Email
                © 2019 Yoshimatsu et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 3, References: 21, Pages: 9
                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                dysphagia, screening, aspiration, phenotype, risk


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