Preliminary psychometric performance of the Neonatal Feeding Assessment Scale

Mari Viviers, Alta Kritzinger, Bart Vinck, Marien Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The objective was to determine the preliminary psychometric performance of a new clinical feeding scale to diagnose oropharyngeal dysphagia (OPD) in neonates.

METHODS: Twenty neonates with a median gestational age of 35 weeks were evaluated using the Neonatal Feeding Assessment Scale (NFAS) and modified barium swallow studies (MBSS). The results were compared.

RESULTS: Nine of the 20 participants presented with OPD on the NFAS. Comparison of the scale's results with instrumental MBSS indicated that all participants without OPD were correctly excluded (100% sensitivity). The specificity was 78.6%, indicating that three participants were falsely identified with OPD on the scale. Inter-rater reliability was determined on 50% (n = 10) of the sample. Substantial agreement (80%) was obtained between two raters in five of the six sections of the scale and on the diagnostic outcome.

CONCLUSION: The preliminary performance of the scale appears to be promising. A further validation study will take place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1-e8
JournalThe South African journal of communication disorders. Die Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir Kommunikasieafwykings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


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