, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 74-83
Date: 01 Apr 2014

Timing of Events in Normal Swallowing: A Videofluoroscopic Study

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Dynamic videofluoroscopic swallow studies were performed on 60 normal adult volunteers to establish normative data for clinically useful timing measures. The relation of swallowing gesture timing to the timing of actual bolus transit was of particular interest because it provides insight into the physiology of larger bolus volume accommodation. Parameters evaluated include the timing of bolus pharyngeal transit, soft palate elevation, aryepiglottic fold elevation and supraglottic closure, arrival of the bolus in the vallecula, hyoid bone displacement onset and duration, arrival of the bolus at the pharyngoesophageal sphincter, maximum pharyngeal constriction, and pharyngoesophageal sphincter opening. These parameters represent events required for normal deglutition, can be used to identify abnormalities in dysphagic patients, and provide a basis for comparison of swallowing performance both within and between patients. In addition, our experience has shown them to be reliably obtained. Other investigators have reported some of the measurements. However, to our knowledge, normative data for timing of aryepiglottic fold elevation, soft palate elevation and closure, and maximum pharyngeal constriction have not been described. Other measures included in the present study may provide alternatives when conventional measures cannot be obtained in selected patients. The relevance and clinical utility of new and alternative measures, in particular, are discussed.