Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
In an effort to evaluate the effect of normal aging on oropharyngeal events of swallowing, 80 normal volunteers, stratified by gender into four age groups, were studied. Liquid and semisolid swallows were performed and recorded simultaneously using videofluoroscopy and manometry. Several parameters, including total duration of oropharyngeal swallowing, were significantly longer in the oldest age group than in any other age group. A delay in initiation of maximal hyolaryngeal excursion primarily accounted for the longer durations with increased age. Significant durational changes also were found as a function of bolus consistency and presence or absence of the manometry tube. Females had a longer duration of upper esophageal sphincter (UES) opening. The amplitude of pharyngeal pressures, duration of peak pharyngeal pressures, and rate of propagation of the contractions were not significantly different for age, gender, or consistency of bolus. No significant differences were found between age groups or between genders in UES pressure. Normal aging affects some parameters of swallowing, while others are preserved.