Respiratory Swallow Coordination in Healthy Individuals

Radish Kumar Balasubramanium, Jayashree S. Bhat


The coordination between swallowing and breathing is considered to be an essential element in the protection of the airway during eating/ drinking. A variety of age-related changes occur in the oral pharyngeal mechanism, with some affect on the coordination between swallowing and breathing. Hence the present study was planned to investigate the differences between respiratory swallow coordination if any in the healthy individuals. 800 participants in the age range of 18-40 yrs, 41-59 yrs, 60-75 yrs and 76 yrs and above participated in the study. The swallowing examinations were recorded on a Digital Swallowing Workstation (Model 7200; Kay Elemetrics Corporation) coupled to the swallowing signals lab. Nasal respiratory flow was captured by using a standard 7-ft nasal cannula coupled to the Swallow Signals Lab (Model 7120; Kay Elemetrics Corporation) module. Respiratory measures (inhalation/ exhalation) were recorded for all swallowing attempts. Swallow apnea duration was calculated from these measurements. Obtained data was analyzed statistically using MANOVA. Results revealed an increase in swallow apnea duration with the increase in age. Significant difference was observed between males and females. It was also observed that bolus consistency and volume did influence the swallowing physiology. This normative would serve as a base for comparisons against disordered respiratory swallow coordination in individuals with dysphagia.



Digital swallowing workstation; Dysphagia; Oropharynx; Swallow apnea.

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