Background Dysphagia is a common symptom during the trajectory of ALS, and it can significantly impact on the quality of life and prognosis of patients. Nowadays, no specific tool for the screening of dysphagia in ALS is validated, and the approach is heterogeneous across the Italian centres.Objective To validate the DYALS (dysphagia in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) questionnaire, adapting the DYMUS (dysphagia in multiple sclerosis) questionnaire, for the assessment of dysphagia in ALS patients, in order to uniform the evaluations across the Italian ALS network.Methods We included 197 patients diagnosed with ALS following the El Escorial criteria, in sixteen Italian ALS centres between 1st December 2019 and 1st July 2020. For each patient, we collected clinical and demographic data and obtained ALSFRS-r score, ALSAQ-5 score, DYMUS score, and EAT-10 score.Results Across the 197 patients, the ratio M/F was 113/84, and the median age was 64 years (IQR 56-72.5). Bulbar patients were 20%, and spinal patients 80%. The median ALSFRSr total score of patients was 35 (IQR 28-39). DYALS score was statistically higher in bulbar ALS than in spinal ALS (median = 6, IQR 4.5-9 vs median =1, IQR 0-5, z= 6.253, p < 0.0001). DYALS questionnaire showed a high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.88). There was a statistically significant correlation between DYALS and EAT-10 (rho = 0.90, p < 0.0001).Conclusions DYALS scale is reliable, manageable, and easily usable for the screening of dysphagia in ALS. It can be shared with all the Italian ALS centres in order to collect uniform data for therapeutic strategies and clinical trials.
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