Clinical and Research Updates

Ongoing projects, task forces, research initiatives:

There is a task force organized by the American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders working to establish FEES practice guidelines.  The current ones from ASHA are outdated.  Another task force organized by California Speech-Language Hearing Association has developed new wording for the California state regulations that address FEES, with the hope that the state legislature will adopt this wording and make it clear that SLPs can perform FEES without a physician present.

A research initiative, organized by Drs. Kate Hutcheson and Heather Starmer is in progress. Its goal is to develop a FEES-DIGEST scoring system.


Here are links to 5 recent articles either about FEES or ones that use FEES to evaluate patients.  The last article contains some very practical information for FEES users.

Publications & Milestones

First publication: Langmore, Schatz, and Olson, Dysphagia, 1988.
FEES was first developed in response to a need for a more portable exam to replace the bedside clinical exam for inpatients. As its value as a stand-alone exam became better appreciated and as technology advanced, FEES has evolved to the point where today FEES is a standard instrumental exam that is widely done throughout the US and internationally. 

FEES included in the SLP scope of practice by ASHA, 1991.
By identifying FEES as an evaluation procedure that is within the scope of practice of SLPs, ASHA established its credibility. They emphasized that training is needed to perform and interpret the exam and followed this document with a Position Statement on the role of the SLP and further documents that provided Knowledge and Skills needed to perform the exam. The ASHA website has these documents available to anyone.

FEES made a billable CPT procedures, 1994 (CPT – 92612)
In 1994, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined that FEES should have its own CPT code, thus establishing it as a procedure that is separate and distinct from other procedures that utilize a laryngoscope.  From that time on, FEES was no longer confused with CPT code # 31575, Diagnostic Laryngoscopy, as typically performed by otolaryngologists as their standard laryngoscopy exam to assess for laryngeal pathology.

Textbook on FEES published 2001. 
A good resource for learning more about FEES is my textbook:Langmore, Susan E.  Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation and Treatment of Swallowing Disorders. Thieme Medical Publishers, 2001.