Longitudinal Kinematic Evaluation of Pharyngeal Swallowing Impairment in Thyroidectomy Patients


The aim of this study was to assess pharyngeal swallowing impairments in thyroidectomy patients and to delineate the contributory kinematic components. Forty consecutive patients (mean age = 47.33 years) and fourteen age- and sex-matched heathy adult volunteers (mean age = 42.64 years) participated in this study. A videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS) was performed 1 day prior to surgery, and at 1 week and 3 months post-surgery. VFSS images were evaluated using the Modified Barium Swallowing Impairment Profile (MBSImp). Kinematic and temporal aspects of swallowing were characterized by measurement of maximum hyoid and laryngeal excursion, pharyngeal transit duration, laryngeal response duration (LRD), and laryngeal closure duration at each three time-points. At 1 week post-surgery, only pharyngeal impairment was significantly deteriorated than pre-surgery (p = 0.001). However, at 3 months, a significant improvement was observed to pre-surgery level (p = 0.01). Post-surgery, maximum hyoid excursion was significantly reduced in patients compared controls (p = 0.001). Although the maximal distance of the hyoid and the laryngeal excursion was shorter than before surgery, laryngeal excursion at all three time-points was similar to that of controls. At all three time-points, LRD was significantly longer in patients than in controls (p = 0.01). Following thyroidectomy, pharyngeal aspects of swallowing as measured by the MBSImp and kinematic aspects of swallowing were reduced with incomplete recovery at 3 months. These exploratory data may guide decision regarding management of pharyngeal swallowing impairment with patients undergoing total thyroidectomy.

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The first author would like to thank CCC-SLP., Todd R Fix, Instructor of the Communication Disorders Clinic at UCF, for his support and help.

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Correspondence to Ki Hwan Hong.

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Im, I., Jun, J., Crary, M.A. et al. Longitudinal Kinematic Evaluation of Pharyngeal Swallowing Impairment in Thyroidectomy Patients. Dysphagia 34, 161–169 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00455-018-9949-9

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  • Thyroidectomy
  • The modified barium swallowing impairment
  • Deglutition
  • Kinematic hyolaryngeal excursion
  • Temporal measurement
  • Deglutition disorders