, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 385–391 | Cite as

Pharyngeal Pressures During Swallowing Within and Across Three Sessions: Within-Subject Variance and Order Effects

  • Phoebe R. Macrae
  • Daniel J. Myall
  • Richard D. Jones
  • Maggie-Lee Huckabee
Original Paper


No studies have investigated within-subject variation in measures of pharyngeal pressures during swallowing across sessions. This study aimed to document the variation in pharyngeal pressures both within and across three sessions. Twenty healthy participants were recruited for three sessions. For each session, peak or nadir pressures were recorded from the upper pharynx (sensor 1), mid-pharynx (sensor 2), and upper esophageal sphincter (sensor 3) during saliva and 10-ml water bolus swallows. Variance was larger across sessions than within sessions for sensors 1 and 2 but comparable for sensor 3. For all sensors there was a high correlation between the variance across sessions and within session (r = 0.92, p < 0.0001). There were no significant order effects of session or of trial at any sensor with estimated order effects less than 2% and the estimated maximum possible change no larger than 5% for trial and no larger than 12% for session. These data offer direction for longitudinal treatment studies in which pharyngeal pressures are an outcome measurement by (1) providing a basis for power calculations, (2) estimating the likely values of any confounding order effects, and (3) providing suggestions for more reliable data analysis.


Swallowing Pharyngeal Upper esophageal sphincter Pressures Variance Deglutition Deglutition disorders 



The research was conducted during the tenure of a Postgraduate Scholarship of the New Zealand Neurological Foundation, awarded to the first author, Phoebe Macrae.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phoebe R. Macrae
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel J. Myall
    • 2
  • Richard D. Jones
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Maggie-Lee Huckabee
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Communication DisordersUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Van der Veer Institute for Parkinson’s and Brain ResearchChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of MedicineUniversity of OtagoChristchurchNew Zealand
  4. 4.Department of Medical Physics and BioengineeringCanterbury District Health BoardChristchurchNew Zealand

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