Normalization of temporal aspects of swallowing physiology after the McNeill dysphagia therapy program

Lan Y, Ohkubo M, Berretin-Felix G, Sia I, Carnaby-Mann GD, Crary MA.

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2012 Aug;121(8):525-32.



We examined the timing of physiological swallowing events in patients before and after completion of an exercise-based dysphagia intervention (McNeill Dysphagia Therapy Program; MDTP) and compared their performance to that of healthy volunteers.


Eight adults (mean age, 57.5 years) with chronic dysphagia (mean, 45 months) completed 3 weeks of the MDTP. Before and after the MDTP we measured lingual-palatal and pharyngeal manometric pressures during swallows of thin liquid, thick liquid, and pudding material in 5-mL volumes. Using the pressure peak of the pharyngoesophageal segment clearing wave as the anchor point, we measured the relative timing of pressure peaks from the anterior, middle, and posterior parts of the tongue and the manometric peaks from the base of the tongue, the hypopharynx, and the nadir of the pharyngoesophageal segment. We compared these results to identical measures obtained from 34 healthy adults (mean age, 44.0 years).


The timing of physiological events before the MDTP was significantly slower than that of the group of healthy volunteers. The timing data from after the MDTP were not significantly different from those of the healthy group. The magnitude change was greatest for thin liquid.


Dysphagia therapy with the MDTP improves the timing of physiological events during swallowing. Temporal coordination of swallowing components after therapy approximates that of healthy adults, suggesting a normalization of swallow timing after the MDTP.


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