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Dysphagia. 2015 Feb;30(1):47-56. doi: 10.1007/s00455-014-9572-3. Epub 2014 Oct 1.

The effect of bilateral superior laryngeal nerve lesion on swallowing: a novel method to quantitate aspirated volume and pharyngeal threshold in videofluoroscopy.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


The purpose was to determine the effect of bilateral superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) lesion on swallowing threshold volume and the occurrence of aspiration, using a novel measurement technique for videofluoroscopic swallowing studies (VFSS) in infant pigs. We used a novel radiographic phantom to assess volume of the milk containing barium from fluoroscopy. The custom made phantom was firstly calibrated by comparing image intensity of the phantom with known cylinder depths. Secondly, known volume pouches of milk in a pig cadaver were compared to volumes calculated with the phantom. Using these standards, we calculated the volume of milk in the valleculae, esophagus and larynx, for 205 feeding sequences from four infant pigs feeding before and after had bilateral SLN lesions. Swallow safety was assessed using the tested and validated IMPAS (Dysphagia 28(2):178-187, 2013). The log-linear correlation between image intensity values from the phantom filled with barium milk and the known phantom cylinder depths was strong (R (2) > 0.95), as was the calculated volumes of the barium milk pouches. The threshold volume of bolus in the valleculae during feeding was significantly larger after bilateral SLN lesion than in control swallows (p < 0.001). The IMPAS score increased in the lesioned swallows relative to the controls, indicating substantially impaired swallowing (p < 0.001). Bilateral SLN lesion dramatically increased the aspiration incidence and the threshold volume of bolus in valleculae. The use of this phantom permits quantification of the aspirated volume of fluid, allowing for more accurate 3D volume estimation from 2D X-ray in VFSS.

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