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Dysphagia. 1994 Fall;9(4):221-8.

Effect of aging on the deglutitive oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal motor function.

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MCW Dysphagia Institute, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.


Aging affects some members of the swallowing orchestra and spares the others. It seems that changes in the pharynx of the elderly are more of a positive nature than a negative one and reflect an adaptation to age-induced structural changes of the upper esophageal sphincter. In the esophagus, the positive change in deglutitive peristaltic amplitude and duration seem to revert to a negative one over the age of 90 years. In the upper esophageal sphincter, it appears that aging reduces the resting pressure, but spares its response to various stimuli. Considering the increasing elderly population and their medical needs, further normalcy data about various manometric aspects of deglutition is needed for physiologic studies as well as diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

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