, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 254-260
Date: 18 Mar 2006

Oropharyngeal Stimulation with Air-Pulse Trains Increases Swallowing Frequency in Healthy Adults

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This study sought to determine whether air-pulse trains delivered to the peritonsillar area would facilitate swallowing in healthy subjects. Trains of unilateral or bilateral air pulses were delivered to the peritonsillar area via tubing embedded in a dental splint, while swallows were simultaneously identified from their associated laryngeal and respiratory movements. Results from four subjects indicated that oropharyngeal air-pulse stimulation evoked an irrepressible urge to swallow, followed by an overt swallow as verified by laryngeal and respiratory movements. Moreover, air-pulse stimulation was associated with a significant increase in swallowing frequency. Mean latency of swallowing following bilateral stimulation tended to be less than the latency of swallowing following unilateral stimulation. These findings in healthy adults suggest the possibility that oropharyngeal air-pulse stimulation may have clinical utility in dysphagic individuals.