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Invest Radiol. 1985 Oct;20(7):717-26.

Normal erect swallowing. Normal function and incidence of variations.


Of 871 candidates presenting for upper gastrointestinal examinations, 16 met the rigorous criteria established for selecting asymptomatic normal volunteers. Frame-by-frame evaluation of their videorecorded pharyngeal swallow confirmed many observations made previously utilizing cine recording at much higher radiation dosages. In addition, new observations were made: the nasopharynx may not occlude until the bolus is entirely within the pharynx; air mixes with the bolus if the swallow is an "open" type; the epiglottis always inverts in normal individuals regardless of the type of swallow ("open," air filled oro-and hypopharynx into which the swallowed bolus is dropped; "closed," airless oropharynx into which the swallowed bolus is pushed by a continuous peristaltic drive of the tongue and palate, thus reconstituting the pharyngeal space); laryngeal descent may aid in stripping the bolus from the pharynx; the vestibule may not completely close during the swallow and the larynx can still be impervious to the bolus; the peristaltic wave does not begin until the bolus has breeched the cricopharyngeus; the cricopharyngeus may be seen frequently in normal individuals, but does not delay the passage of the bolus; asymmetric flow of the bolus around the larynx is common and may not be the result of epiglottic tilt or head positioning.

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