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Dysphagia. 2004 Spring;19(2):133-41.

Structural displacements affecting pharyngeal constriction in nondysphagic elderly and nonelderly adults.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, Davis, Medical School, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.


This study investigated spatial displacement variables important to pharyngeal constriction and clearing in nondysphagic elderly subjects and a control group of nondysphagic younger adults. Height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) characteristics were determined for all subjects, who then underwent videofluoroscopic swallow studies. Measures obtained during swallow of a 20-cc bolus included hyoid and laryngeal displacement, unobliterated pharyngeal space at the point of maximum pharyngeal constriction, and pharyngeal width when maximally expanded during the swallow. Data were first examined to determine if elderly subjects with medical conditions common to an aged population differed from elderly subjects with no medical condition. No differences were identified and data for all elderly subjects were subsequently pooled for comparison to data for the nonelderly control group. Findings revealed no differences in maximum hyoid displacement between the groups. Significant differences were identified for larynx-to-hyoid approximation and for the measure representing unobliterated pharyngeal space at the point of maximum pharyngeal constriction. Elderly subjects did not elevate the larynx to the same extent, or clear the pharynx, as well as the younger control subjects. In addition, data suggested that the larynx was positioned lower and that the width of the pharynx maximally expanded was greater in elderly subjects. Implications of the data for swallowing function in the elderly are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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