Leonard, R., Kendall, K. & McKenzie, S. Dysphagia (2004) 19: 182. doi:10.1007/s00455-004-0005-6
The intent of the study was to investigate upper esophageal sphincter (UES) opening and cricopharyngeal bar, and their relationship to other swallowing variables, in elderly, nondysphagic subjects. Extent and duration of UES opening, hypopharyngeal transit time, hyoid displacement, hyoid-to-larynx approximation, and incomplete pharyngeal clearing were determined from fluoroscopic swallow studies in 84 nonelderly control subjects and 88 elderly subjects. No differences in these measures were found between elderly subjects with and without medical conditions, and data were subsequently pooled. Mild, moderate, or marked cricopharyngeal bars were identified in more than 30% of elderly subjects, and subsequent analyses were performed on the control group, the elderly group without bars, and the elderly group with bars. Maximum opening of the UES in the elderly bar group was significantly reduced compared with that of the elderly group without bars and the nonelderly control group. However, timing measures did not differentiate elderly subjects with bars from other elderly subjects and they suggest that prolonged transit times in the elderly cannot be explained by the presence of a cricopharyngeal bar. With the exception of hyoid displacement, all variables investigated differed significantly between the nonelderly and one or both of the elderly groups. With the exception of UES opening, variables examined generally did not differentiate the two elderly groups.