The development of a tongue assessment tool to assist with tongue-tie identification

Jenny Ingram, Debbie Johnson, Marion Copeland, Cathy Churchill, Hazel Taylor, Alan Emond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
388 Downloads (Pure)


Aim. To produce a simple tool with good transferability to provide a consistent assessment of tongue appearance and function for infants with tongue-tie.

Methods. The Bristol Tongue Assessment Tool (BTAT) was developed based on clinical practice and with reference to the Hazelbaker Assessment Tool for Lingual Frenulum Function (ATLFF). This paper documents 224 tongue assessments using the BTAT. There were 126 tongue assessments recorded using BTAT and ATLFF tools to facilitate comparisons between them. Paired BTAT assessments were obtained from eight midwives who were using the new assessment tool.

Results. There was acceptable internal reliability for the 4 item BTAT (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.708) and the eight midwives who used it showed a good correlation in the consistency of its use (ICC = 0.760). The BTAT showed a strong and significant correlation (0.89) with the ATLFF, indicating that the simpler BTAT could be used in place of the more detailed assessment tool to score the extent of a tongue-tie. Midwives found it quick and easy to use and felt that it would be easy to teach to others.
Conclusions. The Bristol Tongue Assessment Tool provides an objective, clear and simple measure of the severity of a tongue-tie, to inform selection of infants for frenotomy and to monitor the effect of the procedure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F344-F349
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Issue number4
Early online date15 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

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