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Timing of videofluoroscopic, manometric events, and bolus transit during the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing


The aims of this study were to evaluate and quantify the timing of events associated with the oral and pharyngeal phases of liquid swallows. For this purpose, we recorded 0–20 ml barium swallows in three groups of volunteers using videoradiographic, electromyographic, and manometric methods. The study findings indicated that a leading complex of tongue tip and tongue base movement as well as onset of superior hyoid movement and mylohyoid myoelectric activity occurred in a tight temporal relationship at the inception of swallowing. Two distinct general types of normal swallows were observed. The common “incisor-type” swallow began with the bolus positioned on the tongue with the tongue tip pressed against the upper incisors and maxillary alveolar ridge. At the onset of the “dipper-type” swallow the bolus was located beneath the anterior tongue and the tongue tip scooped the bolus to a supralingual location. Beginning with tongue-tip peristaltic movement at the upper incisors, the two swallow types were identical. Swallow events that occurred after lingual peristaltic movement at the maxillary incisors showed a volume-dependent forward migration in time that led to earlier movement of the hyoid and larynx as well as earlier opening of the upper esophageal sphincter in order to receive the large boluses that arrived sooner in the pharynx during the swallow sequence than did smaller boluses. The study findings indicated that timing of swallow events should be considered in reference to both swallow type and bolus volume. The findings also indicated an important distinction between peristaltic transit and bolus clearance.

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Cook, I.J., Dodds, W.J., Dantas, R.O. et al. Timing of videofluoroscopic, manometric events, and bolus transit during the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing. Dysphagia 4, 8–15 (1989).

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Key words

  • Swallowing, oral phase
  • Swallowing, pharyngeal phase
  • Bolus transit
  • Hyoid movement