The GUSS test as a good indicator to evaluate dysphagia in healthy older people: a multicenter reliability and validity study

UMAY E., EYİGÖR S., Karahan A. Y., Gezer I. A., Kurkcu A., Keskin D., ...More

EUROPEAN GERIATRIC MEDICINE, vol.10, no.6, pp.879-887, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s41999-019-00249-2
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.879-887
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose Dysphagia is known to be a disorder of the swallowing function, and is a growing health problem in aging populations. Swallowing screening tests have mostly been studied in comorbidities such as stroke associated with old age. There is no simple, quick and easy screening test to best determine the risk of oropharyngeal dysphagia in geriatric guidelines. We aimed to evaluate whether the Gugging Swallowing Screen (GUSS) test is an effective method for evaluating swallowing difficulty in healthy older people. Methods This cross-sectional and multicenter study was conducted at 13 hospitals between September 2017 and February 2019. The study included 1163 participants aged >= 65 years and who had no secondary dysphagia. Reliability was evaluated for data quality, scaling assumptions, acceptability, reliability, and validity as well as cutoff points, specificity and sensitivity. Results The age distribution of 773 (66.5%) patients was between 65 and 74 years and 347 (29.8%) of them were male and 767 (66%) patients were female. The average total GUSS score was 18.57 +/- 1.41. The Cronbach's alpha was 0.968. There was a moderate statistically significant negative correlation between the total GUSS and 10-item Eating Assessment Tool scores as well as between the total GUSS score and quality of life. The cutoff point of the total GUSS score was 18.50, sensitivity was 95.5% and specificity was 94.4%. Conclusions The GUSS test is a valid and reliable test to identify possible oropharyngeal dysphagia risk in healthy older people who had no secondary dysphagia. It is suitable as a screen test for clinical practice.