The V-VST is a validated method of clini­cal assessment useful in identifying clinical signs of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Impaired labial seal, oral or pharyngeal residue, and piecemeal deglutition (multiple swallows per bolus) are considered clinical signs of impaired efficacy of swallow; changes in voice quality (including wet voice), cough or a decrease in oxygen saturation ≥3% are signs of impaired safety5.

The 10-minute test starts with a safe (nectar) viscosity and low-volume (5 mL) bolus. Liquids of increasing volume (up to 20 mL) and difficulty (nectar, followed by liquid and pudding) are sequentially administered to check for clinical signs of impaired efficacy and safety in each swallow. In a study specifically designed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of the V-VST inpatients, it was shown to be a safe, quick and accurate clinical method, with sensitivity and specificity for impaired safety of 88.2% and 64.7%, respectively5.

The V-VST is helpful to determine the volume and viscosity of liquid the patient requires for safe and effective swallowing.Ongoing use of the V-VST serves as a tool for monitoring patient progress over time,and suggesting the need to adjust volume and viscosity recommendations and/orto order further tests such as videofluoroscopy.

5. Rofes L et al. The volume viscosity swallow test for clinical screening of dysphagia and aspiration.Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2012;72:33-42.