What is FEES?

While bedside clinical swallow evaluations are valid for assessing certain aspects related to dysphagia, the accurate diagnosis of oropharyngeal swallowing deficits cannot be done at bedside alone. That's where we come in!

FEES, or flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing, is a gold standard in the assessment and management of dysphagia. It is also a cost-effective alternative to the modified barium swallow study (MBS).

FEES and the MBS have been found to have 97-100% inter-rater reliability regarding the diagnosis of oropharyngeal dysphagia; however, FEES has been found to be more sensitive to laryngeal penetration, aspiration, spillage into the pharynx (throat), and actual location of residue after the swallow. This is the technology Arizona Swallowing & Voice Diagnostics brings to you!

Who benefits from FEES?

FEES is beneficial for many different patients, including:

  • Patients who are allergic to barium, or cannot tolerate radiation exposure

  • Ventilator dependent patients

  • Patients who are difficult to or unable to be transported

  • Patients suspected of aspirating their own secretions

  • Patients with known or suspected co-occurring voice disorders

  • Patients with suspected intubation or extubation trauma

  • Patients with cognitive disorders who are unable to follow commands

  • Patients who must remain in isolation due to other medical conditions

Who benefits from FEES?

FEES is beneficial for many different patients, including:

  • Patients who are allergic to barium, or cannot tolerate radiation exposure

  • Ventilator dependent patients

  • Patients who are difficult to or unable to be transported

  • Patients suspected of aspirating their own secretions

  • Patients with known or suspected co-occurring voice disorders

  • Patients with suspected intubation or extubation trauma

  • Patients with cognitive disorders who are unable to follow commands

  • Patients who must remain in isolation due to other medical conditions

What are the benefits of FEES?

Choosing FEES for your facility has many benefits, including:

  • FEES may be a more conservative assessment if risk of aspirating barium, foods, and liquids is high

  • The need to assess vocal function and laryngeal competence in addition to swallowing function (i.e., in patients following intubation)

  • Ability to provide a prolonged assessment of oropharyngeal function, as there is no exposure to radiation

  • Lower costs associated with the procedure, as there is no transportation involved

  • Ability to assess patients in their natural environment with preferred foods and liquids (i.e., in the dining room, in their private room, etc.)

  • Ability to assess multiple postures, maneuvers, and consistencies with no fear of radiation exposure

  • Ability to assess patients who are difficult to position, and may not be able to participate in an MBS due to these difficulties (i.e., pressure ulcers, kyphosis, etc.)

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