Gastrointestinal Radiology

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 101–107 | Cite as

Movement of the epiglottis during deglutition

A cineradiographic study
  • Olle Ekberg
  • Sigurdur V. Sigurjónsson


The movements of epiglottis during swallowing of barium were studied by high-speed cineradiography in 150 volunteers who had no dysphagia. In 137 individuals the epiglottis tilted down in a twostep fashion during deglutition. The first movement from an upright to transverse position was accomplished by elevation of the larynx and approximation of the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage. This first movement is evidently a passive one and induced by the muscles that lift the hyoid bone. The second movement of the epiglottis, from transverse to an inverted position, occurs later in swallowing and seems related to contraction of the thyroepiglottic muscle. The second epiglottic movement was absent in 7 individuals, and 6 others demonstrated obliquity of their epiglottis (30–90‡) when studied in AP projection.

Key words

Pharynx, radiography Epiglottis, function 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Fink BR: The mechanism of closure of the human larynx.Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol Otolaryng 60:117–127, 1956Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fink BR, Demarest RJ:Biomechanics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fink BR, Martin RW, Rohrmann CA: Biomechanics of the human epiglottis.Acta Otolaryngol (Stockh) 87:554–559, 1979Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Magendie F:Précis Elémentaire de Physiologie. Paris: Mequinon-Marvis, 1817, pp 58–67Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anderson Stuart TP: On the mechanism of the closure of the larynx.Proc R Soc 50:323–339, 1891Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Anderson Stuart TP, M'Cormik A: The position of the epiglottis in swallowing.J Anat 26:231–238, 1891Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cannon WB, Moser A: The movement of the food in the oesophagus.Am J Physiol 1:435–444, 1898Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Negus VE: The function of the epiglottis.J. Anat 62:1–8, 1927Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mosher HP: X-ray studies on the movement of the tongue, epiglottis and hyoid bone in swallowing, followed by a discussion of difficulty in swallowing caused by retropharyngeal diverticulum, postcricoid webs and exostoses of cervical vertebrae.Laryngoscope 37:235–262, 1927Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Barclay AE: The normal mechanism of swallowing.Mayo Clinic Proc 5:251–257, 1930Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Welin S: Deglutition anomaly simulating hypopharyngeal cancer.Acta Radiol (Stockh) 20:452–456, 1939Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Johnstone AS: A radiological study of deglutition.J Anat 77:97–100, 1942Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Saunders JBdeCM, Davis C, Miller ER: The mechanism of deglutition (second stage) as revealed by cineradiography.Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 60:897–916, 1951Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Janker R: Die Röntgenkinematographie, ein Forschungs- und Lehrmittel.Langenbecks Arch Chir 240:53–61, 1953Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Janker R: Roentgen cinematography.AJR 36:384–390, 1936Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Frenker P: X-ray cinematographic demonstration of the swallowing procedure in normal and pathological cases.Acta Otolaryngol [Suppl] (Stockh) 78:83–90, 1949Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ramsey GH, Watson JS, Gramiak R, Weinberg SA: Cinefluorographic analysis of the mechanism of swallowing.Radiology 64:498–518, 1955Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bachman AL: The radiologic study of some normal and abnormal swallowing mechanisms; aspiration phenomena and cricopharyngeus spasm.Laryngoscope 69:947–967, 1959Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ardran GM, Kemp FH: The protection of the laryngeal airways during swallowing.Br J Radiol 25:406–416, 1952Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ardran GM, Kemp FH: The mechanism of the larynx. II. The epiglottis and closure of the larynx.Br J Radiol 40:372–389, 1967Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rushmer RF, Henderson JA: The act of deglutition: a cinefluorographic study.J Appl Physiol 3:622–630, 1951Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olle Ekberg
    • 1
  • Sigurdur V. Sigurjónsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic RadiologyUniversity of Lund, Malmö General HospitalMalmöSweden

Personalised recommendations