NEW! ECS: Management of Dysphagia in Head and Neck Cancer Patients
The ECS identifies potential approaches for reducing the burden of dysphagia in head and neck cancer patients, starting from the time of diagnosis and extending throughout their lifespan.
The AAO-HNSF “Expert Consensus Statement: Management of Dysphagia in Head and Neck Cancer Patients” was published online in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery on March 25, 2023, and in the April issue. The Expert Consensus Statement (ECS) development panel was chaired by Maggie A. Kuhn, MD, MAS, and consisted of a diverse group of expert clinicians nominated by stakeholder organizations. The purpose of the ECS is to identify areas of consensus among experts in the field and to identify potential approaches for reducing the burden of dysphagia in head and neck cancer patients, starting from the time of diagnosis and extending throughout their lifespan. The primary objectives were to highlight areas of controversy and identify opportunities to improve the recognition and rehabilitation of swallowing impairment and decrease the severity and duration of dysphagia and its impact on patients’ quality of life.
The panel reached consensus on 48 statements after two rounds of iterative Delphi method surveys. An additional 12 statements did not meet the consensus criteria. These statements were grouped into the following categories: risk factors, screening, evaluation, prevention, interventions, and surveillance.
Future research, ideally randomized controlled trials, is warranted to address additional controversies related to dysphagia in head and neck cancer patients. In the meantime, clinicians can utilize these statements to improve the quality of care, inform policy and protocols, and recognize areas where there is no consensus.
The AAO-HNSF recognizes the valuable contributions made by Dr. Kuhn and the panel in the development of this new ECS.