Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Honorary Research Fellow



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26 results found

Chalmers S, Harrall K, Wong SY, Kablan W, Clunie Get al., 2023, A retrospective study of patients presenting with speech and language therapy needs within multidisciplinary Long COVID Services: a service evaluation describing and comparing two cohorts across two NHS Trusts, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, Vol: 58, Pages: 1424-1439, ISSN: 1368-2822

Background:Post-COVID Syndrome (also known as Long COVID) refers to the multi-system condition affecting individuals following COVID-19 infection. This can include speech and language therapy (SLT) needs, including voice, swallowing, communication and upper airway difficulties. There is limited published literature in this clinical area of practice, particularly for those receiving input from community SLT services.Aims:To describe and compare demand, typical SLT presentation and service delivery across two National Health Service (NHS) Long COVID multidisciplinary services. Independent retrospective service evaluation was completed for each service. Descriptive statistics were produced and compared across services. This service evaluation followed The Strengthening the Reporting of Observation Studies in Epidemiology guidelines for cohort studies.Outcomes & Results:The findings indicated similarities across the two services in SLT service need and demand, clinical presentations and intervention approaches provided within Long COVID services. There were specific differences in the service provision and delivery of intervention in cognitive communication and upper airways subspecialities.Conclusions & Implications:This study highlights the clinical complexities of SLT needs in individuals with Long COVID and the importance for an appropriately skilled and supported workforce within effective multidisciplinary teams. We call for consensus on SLT practices and a consistent and standardized approach to evaluation for SLT needs in Long COVID.

Journal article

Dawson C, Clunie G, Evison F, Duncan S, Whitney J, Houchen-Wolloff L, Bolton CE, Leavy OC, Richardson M, Omer E, McAuley H, Shikotra A, Singapuri A, Sereno M, Saunders RM, Harris VC, Greening NJ, Nolan CM, Wootton DG, Daynes E, Donaldson G, Sargent J, Scott J, Pimm J, Bishop L, McNarry M, Hart N, Evans RA, Singh S, Yates T, Chalder T, Man W, Harrison E, Docherty A, Lone NI, Quint JK, Chalmers J, Ho L-P, Horsley AR, Marks M, Poinasamy K, Raman B, Wain LV, Brightling C, PHOSP-COVID collaborative Group, Sharma N, Coffey M, Kulkarni A, Wallace Set al., 2023, Prevalence of swallow, communication, voice and cognitive compromise following hospitalisation for COVID-19: the PHOSP-COVID analysis, BMJ Open Respiratory Research, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2052-4439

Objective: Identify prevalence of self-reported swallow, communication, voice and cognitive compromise following hospitalisation for COVID-19.Design: Multicentre prospective observational cohort study using questionnaire data at visit 1 (2–7 months post discharge) and visit 2 (10–14 months post discharge) from hospitalised patients in the UK. Lasso logistic regression analysis was undertaken to identify associations.Setting: 64 UK acute hospital Trusts.Participants: Adults aged >18 years, discharged from an admissions unit or ward at a UK hospital with COVID-19.Main outcome measures: Self-reported swallow, communication, voice and cognitive compromise.Results: Compromised swallowing post intensive care unit (post-ICU) admission was reported in 20% (188/955); 60% with swallow problems received invasive mechanical ventilation and were more likely to have undergone proning (p=0.039). Voice problems were reported in 34% (319/946) post-ICU admission who were more likely to have received invasive (p<0.001) or non-invasive ventilation (p=0.001) and to have been proned (p<0.001). Communication compromise was reported in 23% (527/2275) univariable analysis identified associations with younger age (p<0.001), female sex (p<0.001), social deprivation (p<0.001) and being a healthcare worker (p=0.010). Cognitive issues were reported by 70% (1598/2275), consistent at both visits, at visit 1 respondents were more likely to have higher baseline comorbidities and at visit 2 were associated with greater social deprivation (p<0.001).Conclusion: Swallow, communication, voice and cognitive problems were prevalent post hospitalisation for COVID-19, alongside whole system compromise including reduced mobility and overall health scores. Research and testing of rehabilitation interventions are required at pace to explore these issues.

Journal article

Clunie G, Toft K, Simson G, Dawson C, Govender Ret al., 2023, Current Concepts and Considerations in Measuring Dysphagia-Related Quality of Life for People with Head and Neck Disease, Current Otorhinolaryngology Reports, Vol: 11, Pages: 174-181

Purpose of Review: To provide an overview of current concepts and considerations in the measurement of dysphagia-related quality of life (QoL) for people with head and neck disease. We describe key psychometric and other tool properties that are important to consider when deciding which dysphagia QoL tool to use in practice. The review seeks to establish which tool/s best meet the required properties. Recent Findings: Currently, no single dysphagia QoL tool meets all criteria. However, a few (SWAL QoL, MDADI, SOAL) meet several parameters and we highlight the current evidence base for these assessments. Summary: QoL is essential to providing holistic clinical care and could also be an important outcome in research when evaluating interventions. Existing tools may benefit from re-validation studies which take account of progress made in the fields of instrument development, cross-cultural validity and patient centredness. It is also crucial to recognise that the value of capturing QoL in clinical practice is only realised by subsequent follow-up with the individual patient.

Journal article

Clunie G, Belsi A, Roe J, Sandhu G, McGregor A, Alexander Cet al., 2023, “Is there something wrong with your voice?” A qualitative study of the voice concerns of people with laryngotracheal stenosis, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, Vol: 58, Pages: 376-389, ISSN: 1368-2822

BackgroundAcquired laryngotracheal stenosis (LTS) is a rare condition that causes breathlessness and dyspnoea. Patients have reconstructive airway surgery to improve their breathing difficulties, but both LTS and the surgery can cause voice difficulties. The existing evidence base for management of the voice difficulties for adults with LTS focuses on symptoms. There is limited information to provide clinical guidance for speech and language therapists (SLTs), and limited understanding of the impact of voice changes on adults with LTS. AimTo investigate the lived experience of adults with laryngotracheal stenosis (LTS), who have had reconstructive surgery; here focussing on voice concerns with the aim of guiding clinical care for SLTs.Methods & ProceduresA phenomenological, qualitative study design was used. Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were completed with adults living with LTS who had had reconstructive surgery. Audio-recordings were transcribed and inductive thematic analysis was used by the research team to identify themes and sub-themes. Outcomes & ResultsA total of 24 participants (5 focus groups and 2 interviews) took part in the study before thematic saturation was identified in analysis. Three main themes were identified specific to the experience of living with LTS: the Medical, Physical and Emotional journey. All participants referenced voice difficulties as they related to each of these overall themes. Sub-themes directly related to voice included: experience of surgery, information provision, staff expertise/complacency, symptoms, symptom management, identity, support networks, impact on life and living with a chronic condition. Conclusions & ImplicationsIn this qualitative study participants have described the integral part voice difficulties play in their lived experience of LTS and reconstructive surgery. This is considered in the context of their clinical care and the need for individualised management and information prov

Journal article

Miles A, McRae J, Clunie G, Gillivan-Murphy P, Inamoto Y, Kalf H, Pillay M, Pownall S, Ratcliffe P, Richard T, Robinson U, Wallace S, Brodsky MBet al., 2022, An international commentary on dysphagia and dysphonia during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dysphagia, Vol: 37, Pages: 1349-1374, ISSN: 0179-051X

COVID-19 has had an impact globally with millions infected, high mortality, significant economic ramifications, travel restrictions, national lockdowns, overloaded healthcare systems, effects on healthcare workers’ health and well-being, and large amounts of funding diverted into rapid vaccine development and implementation. Patients with COVID-19, especially those who become severely ill, have frequently developed dysphagia and dysphonia. Health professionals working in the field have needed to learn about this new disease while managing these patients with enhanced personal protective equipment. Emerging research suggests differences in the clinical symptoms and journey to recovery for patients with COVID-19 in comparison to other intensive care populations. New insights from outpatient clinics also suggest distinct presentations of dysphagia and dysphonia in people after COVID-19 who were not hospitalized or severely ill. This international expert panel provides commentary on the impact of the pandemic on speech pathologists and our current understanding of dysphagia and dysphonia in patients with COVID-19, from acute illness to long-term recovery. This narrative review provides a unique, comprehensive critical appraisal of published peer-reviewed primary data as well as emerging previously unpublished, original primary data from across the globe, including clinical symptoms, trajectory, and prognosis. We conclude with our international expert opinion on what we have learnt and where we need to go next as this pandemic continues across the globe.

Journal article

Allen JE, Clunie G, Ma JK-Y, Coffey M, Winiker K, Richmond S, Lowell SY, Volkmer Aet al., 2022, Translating ultrasound into clinical practice for the assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function: a speech and language pathology-led consensus study, Dysphagia, Vol: 37, Pages: 1586-1598, ISSN: 0179-051X

Ultrasound (US) has an emerging evidence base for the assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function. Accessibility and technological advances support the use of US as a clinical assessment tool; however, there is insufficient evidence to support its translation into clinical practice. This study aimed to establish consensus on the priorities for translation of US into clinical practice for the assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function. Nominal Group Technique (NGT) was used as a formal method of consensus development. Clinicians and academics, all members of an international US working group, were invited to participate in the study. Two NGT meetings were held, where participants silently generated and then shared ideas. Participants anonymously ranked items. Rankings were aggregated before participants re-ranked items in order of priority. Discussions regarding rankings were recorded and transcribed to inform analysis. Member-checking with participants informed the final analysis. Participants (n = 15) were speech and language pathologists, physiotherapists and sonographers representing six countries. Fifteen items were identified and prioritised 1–13 (including two equally ranked items). Reliability, validity and normative data emerged as key areas for research while development of training protocols and engagement with stakeholders were considered vital to progressing US into practice. Analysis revealed common themes that might be addressed together in research, in addition to the ranked priority. A measured approach to the translation of US into clinical practice will enable effective implementation of this tool. Priorities may evolve as clinical and professional contexts shift, but this study provides a framework to advance research and clinical practice in this field.

Journal article

Newman H, Clunie G, Wallace S, Smith C, Martin D, Pattison Net al., 2022, What matters most to adults with a tracheostomy in ICU and the implications for clinical practice: a qualitative systematic review and metasynthesis, Journal of Critical Care, Vol: 72, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 0883-9441

Purpose: Tracheostomy is a common surgical procedure in ICU. Whilst often life-saving, it can have important impacts on patients. Much of the literature on tracheostomy focuses on timing and technique of insertion, risk factors and complications. More knowledge of patient experience of tracheostomy in ICU is needed to support person-centred care.Materials and Methods: Qualitative systematic review and metasynthesis of the literature on adult experience of tracheostomy in ICU. Comprehensive search of four bibliographic databases and grey literature. Title and abstract screening and full text eligibility was completed independently by two reviewers. Metasynthesis was achieved using thematic synthesis, supported by a conceptual framework of humanised care.Results: 2971 search returns were screened on title and abstract and 127 full texts assessed for eligibility. Thirteen articles were included for analysis. Five descriptive and three analytical themes were revealed. The over-arching theme was ‘To be seen and heard as a whole person’. Patients wanted to be treated as a human, and having a voice made this easier.Conclusions: Voice restoration should be given high priority in the management of adults with a tracheostomy in ICU. Staff training should focus on both technical skills and compassionate care to improve person-centred outcomes.

Journal article

Chadd K, Chalmers S, Harrall K, Moyse K, Clunie Get al., 2022, An evaluation of speech and language therapy services for people with long COVID in the UK: a call for integrated care, Journal of Integrated Care: Practical evidence for service improvement, ISSN: 1476-9018

PurposeLong COVID is a complex and highly heterogeneous condition with a variable symptom profile, and calls have been made for an integrated care approach to be taken for its management. To date, no studies have explored speech and language therapy services or needs associated with long COVID. This service evaluation aimed to gauge the level of demand on speech and language therapy services for individuals with long COVID in the UK; their clinical needs, the organisational arrangements of services and the barriers and facilitators of delivering quality care.Design/methodology/approachA service evaluation was undertaken via distribution of an online survey to speech and language therapists (SLTs) receiving referrals for individuals with long COVID. Analysis was completed using descriptive statistics, with thematic analysis to evaluate qualitative data.FindingsOne hundred and eleven SLTs responded. Eighty-six percent were seeing individuals with long COVID in their “everyday” service, in uni- or multi-disciplinary teams, without any “dedicated” resource. Dysphagia and dysphonia were the most reported symptoms. Most respondents (66.7%) indicated the individuals they were seeing were of working age, and that an individuals' speech and language therapy needs were impacting their wellbeing. Perceived barriers to quality care included fragmented and non-integrated care pathways. Multi-disciplinary and integrated working was a key enabler.Originality/valueThis study provides novel insights into the current speech and language therapy needs of and care pathways for individuals with long COVID in the UK SLTs have unique expertise and are integral to supporting individuals with long COVID and should be a part of integrated care teams.

Journal article

Clunie G, Anderson C, Hughes C, Savage M, Roe J, Sandhu G, McGregor A, Alexander Cet al., 2022, “A major quality of life issue”: A survey-based analysis of the experiences of adults with laryngotracheal stenosis with mucus and cough, Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, Vol: 131, Pages: 962-970, ISSN: 0003-4894

Objectives:To investigate how the symptoms of mucus and cough impact adults living with laryngotracheal stenosis, and to use this information to guide future research and treatment plans.Methods:A survey was developed with the support of patient advisors and distributed to people suffering with laryngotracheal stenosis. The survey comprised 15 closed and open questions relating to mucus and cough and included the Leicester Cough Questionnaire (LCQ). Descriptive statistics, X2 and thematic analyses were completed.Results:In total, 641 participants completed the survey, with 83.62% (n = 536) reporting problems with mucus; 79% having daily issues of varying severity that led to difficulties with cough (46.18%) and breathing (20.90%). Mucus affected voice and swallowing to a lesser degree. Respondents described a range of triggers; they identified smoky air as the worst environmental trigger. Strategies to manage mucus varied widely with drinking water (72.26%), increasing liquid intake in general (49.35%) and avoiding or reducing dairy (45.32%) the most common approaches to control symptoms. The LCQ showed a median total score of 14 (interquartile range 11-17) indicative of cough negatively affecting quality of life. Thematic analysis of free text responses identified 4 key themes—the Mucus Cycle, Social impact, Psychological impact, and Physical impact.Conclusion:This study shows the relevance of research focusing on mucus and cough and its negative impact on quality of life, among adults with laryngotracheal stenosis. It demonstrates the inconsistent advice and management strategies provided by clinicians for this issue. Further research is required to identify clearer treatment options and pathways.

Journal article

McGregor A, Clunie G, Hall H, Dhuga Yet al., 2022, Patient and practitioner perspectives on the design of a simulated affective touch device to reduce procedural anxiety associated with radiotherapy: a qualitative study, BMJ Open, Vol: 12, ISSN: 2044-6055

Objective The aim of this study was to elicit the views of relevant stakeholders on the design of a device using simulated affective touch to reduce procedural anxiety surrounding radiotherapy and imaging. Design This qualitative study collected data from focus groups which were then analysed using inductive thematic analysis in line with Braun and Clarke’s methods. Participants and setting Twenty patients and carers were recruited, as well as ten healthcare practitioners involved in either delivering radiotherapy or imaging procedures. Results Patients, carers and healthcare practitioners agreed on some aspects of the device design, such as ensuring the device is warm and flexible in where it can be used on the body. However, patient and healthcare practitioner cohorts had at times differing viewpoints. For example, healthcare practitioners provided professional perspectives and required easy cleaning of the device. Meanwhile patients focused on anxiety relieving factors, such as the tactile sensation of the device being either a vibration or pulsation. There was no consensus on who should control the device. Conclusions The desired features of a simulated affective touch device have been investigated. Different priorities of patients and their carers and healthcare practitioners were evident. Any design must incorporate such features as to appease both groups. Areas where no consensus was reached could be further explored, alongside including further patient and public involvement in the form of a project advisory group.

Journal article

Gimson E, Greca Dottori M, Clunie G, Yan Zheng C, Wiseman T, Joyce E, McGregor A, McNair Het al., 2022, Not as simple as “fear of the unknown”: a qualitative study exploring anxiety in the radiotherapy department, European Journal of Cancer Care, Vol: 31, ISSN: 0961-5423

Objective:Little is understood about the anxiety experienced by cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy or investigative imaging. Our aim was to identify sources of anxiety, the points along the cancer journey where anxiety occurred and methods to alleviate it.Methods:Six focus groups were conducted with cancer patients (n = 17), caregivers (n = 3) and healthcare practitioners (HCPs; n = 10) in the radiotherapy department. Patients described specific elements in the care pathway which induced anxiety, while HCPs focused on their perception of the patient experience. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data.Results:Three broad themes emerged: The Environment, The Individual and The Unknown. The physical environment of the hospital, inside the scanner for example, emerged as a key source of anxiety. The impact of cancer on patients' individual lives was significant, with many feeling isolated. The majority of participants described anxiety associated with the unknown. HCPs reported difficulty in identifying the anxious patient.Conclusions:Anxiety is experienced throughout the cancer pathway. Common sources include the physical environment and the uncertainty associated with having cancer. Identifying both anxiety-inducing factors, and the anxious patients themselves, is crucial to enable targeted interventions to alleviate anxiety.

Journal article

Clunie G, Bolton L, Lovell L, Bradley E, Bond C, Bennington S, Roe Jet al., 2022, Considerations for speech and language therapy management of dysphagia in patients who are critically ill with COVID-19: a single centre case series, International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, Vol: 29, ISSN: 1354-8581

Background/AimsPatients treated with intubation and tracheostomy for COVID-19 infection are at risk of increased incidence of laryngeal injury, dysphagia and dysphonia. Because of the novelty of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, little is known about the type of dysphagia patients experience as a result of infection and critical illness. The aim of this case series report was to progress understanding of COVID-19 and dysphagia following admission to an intensive care unit and to guide speech and language therapy clinical practice in the ongoing pandemic.MethodsA retrospective case review was conducted of all patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London who underwent a tracheostomy because of COVID-19 and received an instrumental assessment of swallowing in the early stages of the pandemic.ResultsA total of 11 patients were identified, and descriptive statistics were used to present demographic data, with a narrative account of their dysphagia profile used to describe presentation. Causes and presentation of dysphagia were heterogenous, with each patient requiring individualised clinical management to maximise outcome. A positive trend was seen in terms of recovery trajectory and progressing to oral intake.ConclusionsThis study reports on early experience of the presentation of dysphagia in patients with COVID-19 and demonstrates the value of instrumental assessment. It indicates the need for further research to consolidate knowledge and guide clinical practice.

Journal article

van der Feltz-Cornelis CM, Sweetman J, Allsopp G, Attree E, Crooks MG, Cuthbertson DJ, Forshaw D, Gabbay M, Green A, Heightman M, Hillman T, Hishmeh L, Khunti K, Lip GYH, Lorgelly P, Montgomery H, Strain WD, Wall E, Watkins C, Williams N, Wootton DG, Banerjee A, STIMULATE-ICP Consortiumet al., 2022, STIMULATE-ICP-Delphi (Symptoms, Trajectory, Inequalities and Management: Understanding Long-COVID to Address and Transform Existing Integrated Care Pathways Delphi): Study protocol., PLoS One, Vol: 17

INTRODUCTION: As mortality rates from COVID-19 disease fall, the high prevalence of long-term sequelae (Long COVID) is becoming increasingly widespread, challenging healthcare systems globally. Traditional pathways of care for Long Term Conditions (LTCs) have tended to be managed by disease-specific specialties, an approach that has been ineffective in delivering care for patients with multi-morbidity. The multi-system nature of Long COVID and its impact on physical and psychological health demands a more effective model of holistic, integrated care. The evolution of integrated care systems (ICSs) in the UK presents an important opportunity to explore areas of mutual benefit to LTC, multi-morbidity and Long COVID care. There may be benefits in comparing and contrasting ICPs for Long COVID with ICPs for other LTCs. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This study aims to evaluate health services requirements for ICPs for Long COVID and their applicability to other LTCs including multi-morbidity and the overlap with medically not yet explained symptoms (MNYES). The study will follow a Delphi design and involve an expert panel of stakeholders including people with lived experience, as well as clinicians with expertise in Long COVID and other LTCs. Study processes will include expert panel and moderator panel meetings, surveys, and interviews. The Delphi process is part of the overall STIMULATE-ICP programme, aimed at improving integrated care for people with Long COVID. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval for this Delphi study has been obtained (Research Governance Board of the University of York) as have approvals for the other STIMULATE-ICP studies. Study outcomes are likely to inform policy for ICPs across LTCs. Results will be disseminated through scientific publication, conference presentation and communications with patients and stakeholders involved in care of other LTCs and Long COVID. REGISTRATION: Researchregistry:

Journal article

Haywood M, Lovell L, Roe J, Clunie G, Sandhu G, Al Yaghchi Cet al., 2021, Perioperative instrumental swallowing evaluation in adult airway reconstruction: a retrospective observational cohort study, Clinical Otolaryngology, Vol: 46, Pages: 1229-1236, ISSN: 1749-4478

ObjectivesAirway reconstruction for laryngotracheal stenosis (LTS) encompasses several procedures. Dysphagia is a well-recognised sequela of LTS and airway surgery, however studies have employed mostly non-validated assessments post-operatively in small, heterogenous samples, perpetuating uncertainty around the contributions of LTS and its management to impaired deglutition. Consequently, considerable variation in LTS perioperative nutritional management exists. Our objective was to characterise baseline and post-operative dysphagia with instrumental assessment in an LTS cohort undergoing airway reconstruction and provide a gold-standard management framework for its management.Design, setting, participants and main outcome measuresWe performed a retrospective cohort study of adult airway reconstruction procedures from 2016-2020 at our quaternary centre. Patient background, LTS aetiology, procedure type, tube feeding duration, length of stay and serial Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS) and International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) scores were noted. Baseline, post-operative day one and post-stent removal Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow (FEES) generated Penetration Aspiration Scale (PAS) scores.ResultsForty-four patients underwent forty-six reconstructions. Baseline incidence of penetration-aspiration was considerably higher than the general population and worsened in the immediate post-operative period, however FOIS and PAS scores generally returned to baseline by discharge. Post-operative FOIS correlated negatively with tracheostomy or airway stent placement. At discharge, 80% tolerated soft or normal diet and 93% were feeding tube independent.ConclusionsWe present the largest adult airway reconstruction cohort with instrumental swallow assessment perioperatively. LTS patients have a higher incidence of underlying dysphagia but swallowing tends to return to baseline with appropriate postoperative rehabilitation. Such practice may

Journal article

Allen JE, Clunie GM, Winiker K, 2021, Ultrasound: an emerging modality for the dysphagia assessment toolkit?, Current Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Vol: 29, Pages: 213-218, ISSN: 1068-9508

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Videofluoroscopy (VFSS) and fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) are established instrumental techniques to support differential diagnosis and treatment of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Whilst their value is undisputed, each tool is not without limitations. The COVID-19 pandemic has restricted access to VFSS and FEES leading clinicians to explore alternative or augmentative tools to support swallowing assessment.Ultrasound (US) is an established tool for visualisation of head and neck anatomy, including structures implicated in swallowing. Although US has been utilised in swallowing research for many years, its application has not translated into common clinical practice. This review presents and debates the evidence for and against use of US for clinical swallowing assessment. RECENT FINDINGS: Evaluation of swallowing muscle morphometry and measurement of isolated swallowing kinematics are two primary uses of US in swallowing assessment that have been identified in the literature. Use of US to detect bolus flow, aspiration and residues is in its early stages and needs further research. SUMMARY: US shows promise as an adjunctive modality to support assessment of swallowing. With standardisation, these measurements may have potential for transition into clinical care. Reliability and validity testing and development of normative data are imperative to ensure its use as an evidence-based instrumentation.

Journal article

Rouhani MJ, Clunie G, Thong G, Lovell L, Roe J, Ashcroft M, Holroyd A, Sandhu G, Al Yaghchi Cet al., 2021, A prospective study of voice, swallow, and airway outcomes following tracheostomy for COVID‐19, The Laryngoscope, Vol: 131, Pages: E1918-E1925, ISSN: 0023-852X

ObjectiveThe COVID‐19 pandemic has led to unprecedented demands on healthcare with many requiring intubation. Tracheostomy insertion has often been delayed and the enduring effects of this on voice, swallow, and airway outcomes in COVID‐19 tracheostomy patients are unknown. The aim of this study was to prospectively assess these outcomes in this patient cohort following hospital discharge.MethodsAll COVID‐19 patients who had undergone tracheostomy insertion, and were subsequently decannulated, were identified at our institution and followed up 2 months post‐discharge. Patient‐reported (PROMS) and clinician‐reported outcome measures, endoscopic examination, and spirometry were used to assess voice, swallow, and airway outcomes.ResultsForty‐one patients were included in the study with a mean age of 56 years and male:female ratio of 28:13. Average duration of endotracheal intubation was 24 days and 63.4% of tracheostomies were performed at day 21 to 35 of intubation. 53.7% had an abnormal GRBAS score and 30% reported abnormal swallow on EAT‐10 questionnaire. 81.1% had normal endoscopic examination of the larynx, however, positive endoscopic findings correlated with the patient self‐reported VHI‐10 (P = .036) and EAT‐10 scores (P = .027). 22.5% had spirometric evidence of fixed upper airway obstruction using the Expiratory‐Disproportion Index (EDI) and Spearman correlation analysis showed a positive trend between abnormal endoscopic findings and EDI scores over 50 (P < .0001).ConclusionThe preliminary results of this study reveal a high incidence of laryngeal injury among patients who underwent intubation and tracheostomy insertion during the COVID‐19 pandemic. As these patients continue to be followed up, the evolution of these complications will be studied.Level of EvidenceLevel 3. Laryngoscope, 2020

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Lovell L, Clunie GM, Al-Yaghchi C, Roe J, Sandhu Get al., 2021, Laryngeal sarcoidosis and swallowing: what do we know about dysphagia assessment and management in this population?, Dysphagia, Vol: 37, Pages: 548-557, ISSN: 0179-051X

IntroductionSarcoidosis is a chronic granulomatous disease of unknown aetiology and laryngeal involvement is seen in a small percentage of cases. Dysphagia is a common but under-reported symptom. Little is known about how dysphagia typically presents or is managed in the context of this fluctuating disease. We present our case series using an SLT-led model of assessment and management.MethodsA literature search was conducted for any articles that reported both laryngeal sarcoidosis and dysphagia. We then analysed a case series of laryngeal sarcoidosis patients treated at Charing Cross Hospital. We report on multidimensional swallowing evaluation and rehabilitative interventions.ResultsSeventeen papers report both laryngeal sarcoidosis and dysphagia, with only one paper giving details on the nature of the dysphagia and the treatment provided.In our case series (n = 7), patients presented with FOIS Scores ranging from 5 to 7 pre-operatively (median = 6). Aspiration (median PAS Score = 6 and Range = 3–8) and pharyngeal residue were common. Sensory issues were also prevalent with most unaware of the extent of their difficulties. Management interventions included safe swallowing advice, compensatory strategies, exercises and close surveillance given their potential for repeated surgical interventions.ConclusionLaryngeal sarcoidosis is a rare condition. Dysphagia is under-reported and our experience highlights the need for specialist dysphagia intervention. Further research is required to understand dysphagia management requirements in the context of this fluctuating disease process.

Journal article

Freeman-Sanderson A, Ward EC, Miles A, de Pedro Netto I, Duncan S, Inamoto Y, McRae J, Pillay N, Skoretz SA, Walshe M, Brodsky MB, Archer SK, Baker S, Bergström L, Burns CL, Cameron T, Cimoli M, Clayton NA, Clunie G, Cole T, Dawson C, Dikeman K, Duggan B, Engelbrecht L, Langton-Frost N, Hemsley B, Kalf H, Kazandjian M, Lakha S, Marvin S, McIntyre M, Puntil-Sheltman J, Ribamar do Nascimento Junior J, Suiter DM, Sutt A-L, Wallace S, Zaga CJet al., 2021, A consensus statement for the management and rehabilitation of communication and swallowing function in the ICU: A global response to COVID-19, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol: 102, Pages: 835-842, ISSN: 0003-9993

ObjectiveTo identify core practices for workforce management of communication and swallowing functions in COVID-19 positive patients within the ICU.DesignA modified Delphi methodology was utilized, with 3 electronic voting rounds. AGREE II and an adapted COVID-19 survey framework from physiotherapy were used to develop survey statements. Sixty-six statements pertaining to workforce planning and management of communication and swallowing function in the ICU were included.SettingElectronic modified Delphi process.Participants35 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) from 6 continents representing 12 countries.InterventionsNot applicable.Main Outcome MeasuresThe main outcome was consensus agreement, defined a priori as ≥70% of participants with a mean Likert score ≥7.0 (11-point scale: “0” = strongly disagree, “10” strongly agree). Prioritization rank order of statements in a 4th round was also conducted.ResultsSLPs with a median of 15 years ICU experience, working primarily in clinical (54%), in academic (29%) or managerial (17%) positions, completed all voting rounds. After the third round, 64 statements (97%) met criteria. Rank ordering identified issues of high importance.ConclusionsA set of global consensus statements to facilitate planning and delivery of rehabilitative care for patients admitted to the ICU during the COVID-19 pandemic were agreed by an international expert SLP group. Statements focus on considerations for workforce preparation, resourcing and training, and the management of communication and swallowing functions. These statements support and provide direction for all members of the rehabilitation team to use for patients admitted to the ICU during a global pandemic.

Journal article

Deane J, Clunie G, 2021, Healthcare professionals in research (HPiR) Facebook community: a survey of U.K. doctoral and postdoctoral healthcare professionals outside of medicine, BMC Medical Education, Vol: 21, ISSN: 1472-6920

BackgroundHealthcare professionals outside of medicine (HCPs), including nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, are increasingly involved in research for patient benefit. Their challenge is to negotiate inter-professional or professionally isolated contexts. The aims of this study were to evaluate the ‘Healthcare Professionals in Research’ (HPiR) Facebook group (a self-directed and confidential peer support group for doctoral and postdoctoral HCPs) including engagement, the experiences of doctoral and postdoctoral HPiR members and to identify future career challenges using an on-line survey.MethodsThe HPiR Facebook group was launched in May 2019. Five HCP Community managers (CMs) were trained in on-line platform curation, moderation and screening. An on-line survey was designed to capture data from HPiR members. A purposive sampling approach was applied. Respondents were required to be doctoral and postdoctoral HCPs and a registered member of the HPiR group. Respondents represented a range of healthcare professions, 79 % of whom had over ten years clinical experience. Membership growth and engagement was analysed. Descriptive statistics were used to present numerical data. Qualitative data were analysed thematically.Results96 members were admitted to the group within the first month. All members were actively engaged with group content. 34/96 doctoral and postdoctoral HCPs completed the survey. Most members joined for networking (88 %) and peer support (82 %) purposes. Analysis of text responses showed difficulties in balancing a clinical academic career and highlighted the consequences of undefined clinical academic roles and pathways.ConclusionsDoctoral and postdoctoral HCPs value the opportunities that HPiR provides for peer support and connection with fellow HCPs. HPiR has the potential to strengthen research capacity, support research skill development and drive change within the clinical academic community. Clinical

Journal article

Clunie GM, Belsi A, Roe JWG, Alexander CM, Sandhu G, McGregor Aet al., 2021, Not just dyspnoea: swallowing as a concern for adults with laryngotracheal stenosis undergoing airway reconstruction, Dysphagia, Vol: 37, Pages: 365-374, ISSN: 0179-051X

Acquired laryngotracheal stenosis (LTS) is a rare condition causing dyspnea and stridor. Patients often require multiple surgical procedures with no guarantee of a definitive outcome. Difficulty swallowing is a recognised problem associated with LTS and the reconstructive surgeries required to manage the condition. The breathlessness patient’s experience impacts on swallowing, and the vulnerable structures of the larynx are implicated during complex surgeries. This leads to dysphagia post-surgery, with some patients experiencing more chronic symptoms depending on the biomechanical impact of the surgery, or a pre-existing dysphagia. Despite this there is limited observational research about the dysphagia associated with LTS, with no exploration of the patient experience. Our aim was to investigate patient experience of living with LTS focussing on dysphagia in order to guide clinical practice. A qualitative study was completed using focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 24 patients who have had reconstructive surgery for LTS. Thematic analysis was used to identify three over-arching themes: The Physical Journey, The Emotional Journey and The Medical Journey. Key sub-themes included the importance of self-management and control, presence of symptoms, benefits of therapy, living with a life-long condition, fear and anxiety, autonomy, medicalisation of normal processes and the dichotomy between staff expertise and complacency. Swallowing was connected to all themes. The results are reviewed with consideration of the wider literature of lived experience particularly in relation to other chronic conditions and those that carry a high symptom burden such as head and neck cancer. Future clinical and research recommendations have been made. Akin to other clinical groups, adults with LTS are keen that management of their swallowing is person-centred and holistic.

Journal article

Clunie G, Roe J, Alexander C, Sandhu G, McGregor Aet al., 2021, Voice and swallowing outcomes following airway reconstruction in adults: a systematic review, The Laryngoscope, Vol: 131, Pages: 146-157, ISSN: 0023-852X

Objectives: Laryngotracheal stenosis is a rare condition characterized by upper airway narrowing. Reconstructive surgical treatment aims to manage the area of stenosis to improve dyspnea and can impact on voice and swallowing function. This article critically evaluates the literature about voice and swallowing outcomes in adults with laryngotracheal stenosis who undergo reconstructive surgery.Study Design: Systematic review.Methods: Six databases were searched for articles referring to voice and swallowing outcome measures following reconstruction procedures in adults with laryngotracheal stenosis. Screening was completed using predefined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Results: A total of 143 abstracts were reviewed, with 67 articles selected for full text review. 20 studies met the inclusion criteria. Data extraction was completed with The Strengthening Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology checklist with Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Level of Evidence used to indicate quality. Risk of bias was assessed using the Risk of Bias Assessment Tool for Non-Randomized Studies. All studies scored a high risk of bias in at least one of the domains. Selection and timing of outcome measures was heterogenous and there was limited information provided about rationale or reliability.Conclusion: The literature acknowledges the importance of voice and swallowing outcomes following airway reconstruction. Studies show correlation between reconstructive surgery and deterioration in vocal function; there is no consistent data about swallowing outcomes. The lack of a core outcome measures set for adults with laryngotracheal stenosis limits the findings of this review. Further research is needed to establish clear criteria for robust and clinically relevant outcome measurement.

Journal article

Allen JE, Clunie GM, Slinger C, Haines J, MosseyGaston C, Zaga CJ, Scott B, Wallace S, Govender Ret al., 2021, Utility of ultrasound in the assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function: a rapid review and critical appraisal of the literature, International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, Vol: 56, Pages: 174-204, ISSN: 1368-2822

BackgroundUltrasound (US) is not widely used as part of the speech and language therapy (SLT) clinical toolkit. The COVID‐19 pandemic has intensified interest in US as an alternative to SLT instrumental tools such as the videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS), fibreoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) and endoscopic evaluation of the larynx (EEL) as a non‐invasive, non‐aerosol‐generating procedure that can be delivered at the bedside to assess swallowing and/or laryngeal function. To establish the appropriacy of routine US use, and in response to a national professional body request for a position statement, a group of expert SLTs conducted a rapid review of the literature.AimTo explore critically the clinical utility of US as an assessment tool for swallowing and laryngeal function in adults.Methods & ProceduresA rapid review of four databases was completed to identify articles using US to assess swallowing and/or laryngeal function in adults compared with reference tests (VFSS/FEES/EEL/validated outcome measure). Screening was completed according to predefined inclusion/exclusion criteria and 10% of abstracts were rescreened to assess reliability. Data were extracted from full texts using a predeveloped form. The QUADAS‐2 tool was used for quality ratings. Information from included studies was summarized using narrative synthesis and visual illustration.Outcomes & ResultsTen papers used US to assess swallowing, and 13 to assess laryngeal function. All were peer‐reviewed primary studies across a range of clinical populations and with a wide geographical spread. Four papers had an overall low risk of bias, but the remaining 19 had at least one domain where risk of bias was judged as high or unclear. Applicability concerns were identified in all papers. The papers that used US to assess swallowing varied widely in terms of the anatomical structures assessed and methodology employed. The papers assessing laryngeal function were more homogenous i

Journal article

Patterson JM, Govender R, Roe J, Clunie G, Murphy J, Brady G, Haines J, White A, Carding Pet al., 2020, COVID-19 and ENT SLT services, workforce and research in the UK: A discussion paper, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, Vol: 55, Pages: 806-817, ISSN: 1368-2822

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and the UK government's subsequent coronavirus action plan have fundamentally impacted on every aspect of healthcare. One area that is severely affected is ear, nose and throat (ENT)/laryngology where speech and language therapists (SLTs) engage in a diverse range of practice with patients with a range of conditions, including voice disorders, airway problems, and head and neck cancers (HNCs). A large majority of these patients are in high-risk categories, and many specialized clinical practices are vulnerable. In addition, workforce and research issues are challenged in both the immediate context and the future. AIMS: To discuss the threats and opportunities from the COVID-19 pandemic for SLTs in ENT/laryngology with specific reference to clinical practice, workforce and research leadership. METHODS & PROCEDURES: The relevant sections of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) health systems building blocks framework (2007) were used to structure the study. Expert agreement was determined by an iterative process of multiple-group discussions, the use of all recent relevant policy documentation, and other literature and shared documentation/writing. The final paper was verified and agreed by all authors. MAIN CONTRIBUTION: The main threats to ENT/laryngology SLT clinical services include increased patient complexity related to COVID-19 voice and airway problems, delayed HNC diagnosis, reduced access to instrumental procedures and inequitable care provision. The main clinical opportunities include the potential for new modes of service delivery and collaborations, and harnessing SLT expertise in non-instrumental assessment. There are several workforce issues, including redeployment (and impact on current services), training implications and psychological impact on staff. Workforce opportunities exist for service innovation and potential extended ENT/SLT practice roles. Research is threatened by a reduction in immediate funding call

Journal article

Clunie G, Belsi A, Roe J, Alexander C, Sandhu G, McGregor Aet al., 2020, Not Just Dyspnoea – Swallowing as a Concern for Adults with Laryngotracheal Stenosis Who Undergo Reconstructive Surgery?, UK Swallowing Research Group 2020 Conference

Conference paper

Holman A, Clunie G, Roe J, Goldsmith Tet al., 2018, Management of swallowing in adults undergoing laryngotracheal resection and reconstruction, Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, Vol: 3, Pages: 113-123, ISSN: 2381-4764

Purpose: This article presents a detailed review of the etiology of laryngotracheal stenosis, common surgical procedures, and typical pathophysiological changes affecting swallowing function. We describe the redundancy in airway protection and the possibility of safe swallowing in suboptimal conditions.Conclusion: Comprehensive understanding of unique patient factors and swallowing physiology in this complex population facilitates targeted and patient-specific rehabilitation.

Journal article

Clunie GM, Kinshuck AJ, Sandhu GS, Roe JWGet al., 2017, Voice and swallowing outcomes for adults undergoing reconstructive surgery for laryngotracheal stenosis, CURRENT OPINION IN OTOLARYNGOLOGY & HEAD AND NECK SURGERY, Vol: 25, Pages: 195-199, ISSN: 1068-9508

Purpose of review Adult laryngotracheal stenosis is a rare, multifactorial condition which carries a significant physical and psychosocial burden. Surgical approaches have developed in recent years, however, voice and swallowing function can be affected prior to treatment, in the immediate postoperative phase, and as an ongoing consequence of the condition and surgical intervention. In this study we discuss: the nature of the problem; surgical interventions to address airway disorders; optimal patterns of care to maximize voice and swallowing outcomes.Recent findings Studies in this field are limited and focused on surgical outcomes and airway status with voice and swallowing a secondary consideration. Retrospective studies of swallowing have focused on factors such as the duration of dysphagia symptoms following airway surgery and made comparisons between type of surgery, use of stent, and length of swallowing problems. The literature suggests that patients are likely to return to their preoperative diet. There has been a focus on voice outcomes following cricotracheal resection which results in a postoperative decrease in the fundamental frequency. However, study comparisons are limited by the use of inconsistent outcome measures (for both voice and swallowing) which are often not validated, with heterogeneous groups and varying surgical techniques.Summary The limited literature suggests that swallowing function is more likely to recover to presurgical status than voice function. Further prospective studies incorporating consistent instrumental, clinician, and patient-reported outcome measurement are required to understand the nature and extent of dysphagia and dysphonia resulting from this condition and its treatment.

Journal article

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