The purpose of this study was to assess displacement of oropharyngeal structures, particularly the hyoid bone and velum, and variations in timing of the pharyngeal stage of swallowing in the upright versus the supine position. Twelve Caucasian adult subjects between 19 and 27 years of age participated. Subjects were recorded swallowing 7 cc of liquid barium in the upright and supine positions. The hyoid bone had a significantly greater amount of anterior displacement while in the supine position compared to that of the upright position (p < 0.01). While in the upright position, the velum comes to a fully elevated position at nearly the same time as the initiation of the pharyngeal swallow (within an average of 27 ms of each other), whereas in the supine position the velum continues to elevate on average 115 ms after the initiation of the pharyngeal swallow. Results indicated a significant difference (p < 0.05) in the amount of velar movement from rest to the fully elevated position between the upright and supine positions for female subjects. The results from the study demonstrate variations in hyoid displacement, velar movement, and bolus movement through the pharynx with respect to the two body positions and the subjects’ gender.
Reports in the literature suggest that clinicians demonstrate poor reliability in rating videofluoroscopic swallow (VFS) variables. Contemporary perception theories suggest that the methods used in VFS reliability studies constrain subjects to make judgments in an abnormal way. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a directed search or a free search approach to rating swallow studies results in better interjudge reliability. Ten speech pathologists served as judges. Five clinical judges were assigned to the directed search group (use checklist) and five to the free search group (unguided observations). Clinical judges interpreted 20 VFS examinations of swallowing. Interjudge reliability of ratings of dysphagia severity, affected stage of swallow, dysphagia symptoms, and attributes identified by clinical judges using a directed search was compared with that using a free search approach. Interjudge reliability for rating the presence of aspiration and penetration was significantly better using a free search (“substantial” to “almost perfect” agreement) compared to a directed search (“moderate” agreement). Reliability of dysphagia severity ratings ranged from “moderate” to “almost perfect” agreement for both methods of search. Reliability for reporting all other symptoms and attributes of dysphagia was variable and was not significantly different between the groups.
Recently, we described three components of a normal pharyngeal swallowing sound. The aim of the present study was to identify variations of these components using synchronized acoustic-radiological data in partially laryngectomized (PL) and totally laryngectomized (TL) patients before and after surgery. In this prospective study, from January 2003 to December 2006 we enrolled 14 patients in a PL group and 9 patients in a TL group. A fluoroscopy camera and a microphone were connected to a computer to obtain acoustic-radiological data (25 images/s). The subjects were asked to perform six deglutitions of 10 ml of barium suspension. The average durations of the sound variables were measured before and after surgery. The duration of the preoperative pharyngeal sound was 602 ms in the PL group and 562 ms in the TL group. It was significantly decreased after the TL (296 ms) and was increased after the PL (740 ms). A typical profile of the swallowing sound for each group was obtained. This study allowed us to describe the main variations of the pharyngeal swallowing sound induced by PL and TL. This noninvasive tool could be useful to assess postoperative swallowing function.
Biomechanical Analysis of Hyoid Bone Displacement in Videofluoroscopy: A Systematic Review of Intervention Effects
This systematic review explores studies using biomechanical analysis of hyoid bone displacement in videofluoroscopy of swallowing as a spatial outcome parameter to evaluate intervention effects. Two authors independently carried out the literature search using the electronic databases Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane Library. Differences in their search findings were settled by discussion. The search was limited to publications in the English, German, French, Spanish, or Dutch language. MeSH terms were used, supplemented by free-text words to identify the most recent publications. In addition, reference lists were searched by hand. Only studies using videofluoroscopy to evaluate the biomechanical effects of swallowing interventions in dysphagic subjects were included in the review. While the body of literature on measuring hyoid bone displacement in videofluoroscopy has grown, only 12 studies met the inclusion criteria. Several of the 12 studies had methodological shortcomings. In general, the conclusions could not be compared across the studies because of their heterogeneous designs and outcome measures. Overall, several intervention effect studies reported significant results. In particular, bolus modification and swallowing maneuvers showed a greater range of hyoid bone displacement. In light of this review, further research on hyoid bone displacement as a spatial variable in well-defined patient populations using well-defined videofluoroscopic protocols to measure intervention effects is recommended.
This study aimed to further characterize the nature of swallowing dysfunction in patients with Sjogren’s syndrome (SS). Subjects filled out a perception of swallow function form. Measures of stimulated salivary flow rate were also taken, and videofluoroscopic evaluation of swallowing was completed. The amount of saliva produced by patients with SS was significantly less than that produced by normal age-matched controls, and these patients perceived their swallowing to be impaired. Few statistically significant differences were found between the SS group and normal age-matched controls on temporal measures of swallowing, and 96% of swallows in the SS group were judged to be functional. There was no correlation between perception of swallowing and amount of saliva produced. No strong correlations were found between temporal measures of swallowing and salivary flow rate. Results indicated that patients with SS tend to perceive their swallowing to be worse than physiologic swallowing measures indicate. The decreased saliva production in these patients does not appear to be the cause of their perceived swallowing difficulty but may affect their sensory judgment of swallow function. Future studies will focus on how quality of saliva affects swallowing in these patients.
Chronic Aspiration without Pulmonary Complications after Partial Laryngectomy: Long-term Follow-up of Two Cases
Conclusions: VNE and LVF closure estimates correlated moderately. LVF tended to give smaller gap estimates. Hypernasal resonance and facial grimace are useful clinical indicators of large gap size. Velar movement angle and change in genu angle were identified as anatomical correlates of closure function.
from the Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Microvascular free flap reconstruction of major defects after oral resections rehabilitates the functions of swallowing and speech in acceptable levels, improving quality of life in these patients.
Voice-quality Abnormalities as a Sign of Dysphagia: Validation against Acoustic and Videofluoroscopic Data
In this study we explored the validity of clinician judgments of voice abnormalities as indicators of penetration-aspiration or other swallowing abnormalities. Voice samples were collected using a high-quality microphone from 40 adults during videofluoroscopy (VFSS), at baseline and following each of four thin liquid swallows. Blinded speech-language pathologists (SLPs) rated the audio recordings for voice quality using the GRBAS scale and the VFSS recordings for abnormal swallow onset, penetration-aspiration, airway closure, and pharyngeal residues. Acoustic measures of % jitter, % shimmer, and signal-to-noise ratio were calculated using two /a/ vowel segments spliced from each voice recording. Preswallow to postswallow measures of voice-quality change were derived and the data were compared to determine the correspondence between perceived voice abnormalities, acoustic voice parameters, and radiographically confirmed swallowing abnormalities. The sensitivity of perceived postswallow changes in voice quality to dysphagia and penetration-aspiration was poor, ranging from 8 to 29%. Specificity was stronger for both penetration-aspiration (75–94%) and dysphagia (59–86%). Acoustic measures of voice quality had moderate sensitivity and specificity for both dysphagia and penetration-aspiration. Overall, perceptual judgments of postswallow wet voice showed the strongest potential for detecting penetration-aspiration (relative risk = 3.24). We conclude that a clear postswallow voice quality provides reasonable evidence that penetration-aspiration and dysphagia are absent. However, observations of abnormal postswallow voice quality can be misleading and are not a valid indication that penetration-aspiration or dysphagia exists.
The goal of this study was to determine whether functional changes in cortical control of swallowing are evident in early Alzheimer’s disease (AD), before dysphagia (swallowing impairment) is evident. Cortical function was compared between an early AD group and a group of age-matched controls during swallowing. Swallowing oropharyngeal biomechanics examined from videofluoroscopic recordings were also obtained to more comprehensively characterize changes in swallowing associated with early AD. Our neuroimaging results show that the AD group had significantly lower Blood-Oxygen-Level-Dependent (BOLD) response in many cortical areas that are traditionally involved in normal swallowing (i.e., pre and postcentral gyri, Rolandic and frontal opercula). There were no regions where the AD group showed more brain activity than the healthy controls during swallowing, and only 13% of all active voxels were unique to the AD group, even at this early stage. This suggests that the AD group is not recruiting new regions, nor are they compensating within regions that are active during swallowing. In videofluoroscopic measures, the AD group had significantly reduced hyo-laryngeal elevation than the controls. Although, swallowing impairment is usually noted in the late stages of AD, changes in cortical control of swallowing may begin long before dysphagia becomes apparent.
from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Premature infant swallowing: Patterns of tongue-soft palate coordination based upon videofluoroscopy
Coordination between movements of individual tongue points, and between soft palate elevation and tongue movements, were examined in 12 prematurely born infants referred from hospital NICUs for videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) due to poor oral feeding and suspicion of aspiration. Detailed post-evaluation kinematic analysis was conducted by digitizing images of a lateral view of digitally superimposed points on the tongue and soft palate. The primary measure of coordination was continuous relative phase of the time series created by movements of points on the tongue and soft palate over successive frames. Three points on the tongue (anterior, medial, and posterior) were organized around a stable in-phase pattern, with a phase lag that implied an anterior to posterior direction of motion. Coordination between a tongue point and a point on the soft palate during lowering and elevation was close to anti-phase at initiation of the pharyngeal swallow. These findings suggest that anti-phase coordination between tongue and soft palate may reflect the process by which the tongue is timed to pump liquid by moving it into an enclosed space, compressing it, and allowing it to leave by a specific route through the pharynx.
Abstract Videofluoroscopic examination of swallowing remains the standard for evaluation of patients with swallowing complaints. Although attempts have been made to objectify aspects of the study, findings from the study are largely subjective and reliant on clinician training and judgment leading to considerable inter-rater variability. We describe a computerized image analysis program designed to objectify one component of the swallow study, the movement of the hyoid bone. Hyoid motion has been shown to be different in dysphagic versus non-dysphagic patients. Reduced hyoid elevation is also considered a risk factor for aspiration; however, there has not been much work done on actually quantifying hyoid motion and associating it with other aspects of the swallow study. The clinician is prompted to define the hyoid bone in a calibration frame, and the system then tracks that region of interest throughout the rest of the study. This system shows strong correlations with manual analysis and can account for head position changes during the study. While the hyoid bone was reported on in this study, other regions of interest within the image field could also be tracked using this technique. A more quantitative analysis such as this has the opportunity to improve the inter-rater reliability of the test and therefore lead to more consistent findings from swallow studies.
The aim of this work was to assess the efficacy of external myotomy of the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) for oropharyngeal dysphagia. In the period 1991–2006, 28 patients with longstanding dysphagia and/or aspiration problems of different etiologies underwent UES myotomy as a single surgical treatment. The main symptoms were difficulties in swallowing of a solid-food bolus, aspiration, and recurrent incidents of solid-food blockages. Pre- and postoperative manometry and videofluoroscopy were used to assess deglutition and aspiration. Outcome was defined as success in the case of complete relief or marked improvement of dysphagia and aspiration and as failure in the case of partial improvement or no improvement. Initial results showed success in 21 and failure in 7 patients. The best outcomes were observed in patients with dysphagia of unknown origin, noncancer-related iatrogenic etiology, and neuromuscular disease. No correlation was found between preoperative constrictor pharyngeal muscle activity and success rate. After follow-up of more than 1 year, 20 patients were marked as success and 3 as failure. All successful patients had full oral intake with a normal bolus consistency without clinically significant aspiration. We conclude that in select cases of oropharyngeal dysphagia success may be achieved by UES myotomy with restoration of oral intake of normal bolus consistency.
Oropharyngeal Dysphagia after Stroke: Incidence, Diagnosis, and Clinical Predictors in Patients Admitted to a Neurorehabilitation Unit
Dysphagia was clinically diagnosed in 62 of 151 patients (41%). A total of 49 patients (79% of clinically dysphagic patients) underwent VFS. Six patients clinically suggested to be dysphagic had a normal VFS finding. The correlation between clinical and VFS diagnosis of dysphagia was significant (r = 0.6505). Penetrations and aspirations were observed, respectively, in 42.8% and 26.5% of patients with dysphagia, with 12.2% classified as silent. Lower respiratory tract infections were observed in 5.9%, more frequently in patients with dysphagia (30%). Dysphagia was not influenced by type of stroke. Cortical stroke of nondominant side was associated with dysphagia (P = .0322) and subcortical nondominant stroke showed a reduced frequency of dysphagia (P = .0008). Previous cerebrovascular disease resulted associated to dysphagia (P = .0399). Patients with dysphagia had significantly lower functional independence measurement (FIM) and level of cognitive functioning on admission and lower FIM on discharge, longer hospital stay, and more frequent malnutrition, and they were more frequently aphasic and dysarthric. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy was used in 18 of 151 patients (11.9%) (41.8% of patients with VFS-proved dysphagia).
Dysphagia occurs in more than a third of patients with stroke admitted to rehabilitation. Clinical assessment demonstrates good correlation with VFS. The grade of dysphagia correlates with dysarthria, aphasia, low FIM, and level of cognitive functioning. Large cortical strokes of nondominant side are associated with dysphagia.
Accuracy of Clinical Judgment of the Chin-Down Posture for Dysphagia During the Clinical/Bedside Assessment as Corroborated by Videofluoroscopy in Adults with Acute Stroke
Abstract Speech-language pathologists tend to rely on the noninstrumental swallowing evaluation in making recommendations about a patient’s diet and management plan. The present study was designed to examine the sensitivity and specificity of the accuracy of using the chin-down posture during the clinical/bedside swallowing assessment. In 15 patients with acute stroke and clinically suspected oropharyngeal dysphagia, the correlation between clinical and videofluoroscopic findings was examined. Results identified that there is a difference in outcome prediction using the chin-down posture during the clinical/bedside assessment of swallowing compared to assessment by videofluoroscopy. Results are discussed relative to statistical and clinical perspectives, including site of lesion and factors to be considered in the design of an overall treatment plan for a patient with disordered swallowing.