Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology
Gastrointestinal Tract - Original Article

Safety of flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing examination in gastroenterological practice


Institute for Digestive Research, Digestive Disease Center, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Turk J Gastroenterol 2019; 30: 148-154
DOI: 10.5152/tjg.2018.18279
Read: 2325 Downloads: 741 Published: 25 July 2019



Background/Aims: In South Korea, the flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) has been increasingly performed by gastroenterologists. The principal concern was the safety of the FEES performed by gastroenterologists without any involvement of speech-language pathologists. We aimed to characterize the safety and tolerance of gastroenterologist-directed FEES examinations (GDFEES).


Materials and Methods: We evaluated the GDFEES failures, safety profile (laryngospasm, epistaxis, vasovagal syncope, airway compromise, heart rate, blood pressure, and significant change in cardiovascular function), and discomfort level in patients undergoing GDFEES. These outcomes were also analyzed based on gender, age, and calendar period.


Results: A total 303 examinations in 268 adult patients with dysphagia were performed during the study period. The GDFEES failures occurred in 5 patients (1.7%). The causes of failures were poor co-operation and insertion difficulty. There were no instances of laryngospasm or vasovagal syncope or significant cardiovascular changes in any of the examinations. Self-limiting epistaxis occurred in 22 examinations (7.3%). The discomfort ratings were as follows: 128 examinations (43.0%) rated the overall discomfort of the test as none, 150 (50.3%) as mild, 18 (6.0%) as moderate, and 2 (0.7%) as severe discomfort. The discomfort level was significantly different only between the first and second half periods (p <0.001), but it was related to neither gender nor age.


Conclusion: The GDFEES can be endorsed as an appropriate paradigm for clinical practice based on our study investigating its safety and tolerance.


Cite this article as: Lee TH, Lee JS. Safety of flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing examination in gastroenterological practice. Turk J Gastroenterol 2019; 30(2): 148-54.

EISSN 2148-5607