Austin and Repatriation General Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
This article describes the results of a study that investigated how well wet phonation can predict penetration and/or aspiration of ingested material in dysphagic patients. Voice samples of 23 subjects with neurologic oropharyngeal dysphagia were collected immediately after each subject had swallowed nine different boluses on videofluoroscopy. The boluses were graded according to three different consistencies and three different sizes. The presence of wetness in the voice was analyzed in relation to any ingested material that remained in the larynx or trachea after each bolus was swallowed. Results showed that there was no association between the presence of a wet voice and penetration or aspiration of prandial material after a swallow. The importance of detecting wet phonation by itself was therefore not considered diagnostic in detecting prandial penetration/aspiration by the bedside, but a wet voice may still be useful in identifying those with dysphagia who may have laryngeal dysfunction and therefore may be at risk of penetrating/aspirating any type of material, not just prandial material.