Search for compensation postures with videofluoromanometric investigation in dysphagic patients affected by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Solazzo A, Del Vecchio L, Reginelli A, Monaco L, Sagnelli A, Monsorrò M, Di Martino N, Tedeschi G, Grassi R.

Radiol Med. 2011 Oct;116(7):1083-94. Epub 2011 Jun 4. English, Italian.




This study was undertaken to verify the effectiveness of compensatory postures, suggested on the basis of the type of dysphagia identified at videofluoromanometric (VFM) investigation to ensure safe oropharyngeal transit.


Eighty-one patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) underwent speech therapy assessment and VFM investigation of the swallowing process. In the event of altered transit, penetration or aspiration of contrast material into the airways, compensation postures for correction of the swallowing disorder were suggested and verified during VFM examination.


In 37 patients, contrast agent transport was preserved and safe; in 19, we observed penetration of the contrast agent into the laryngeal inlet without aspiration; in 24, there was aspiration (four preswallowing, eight intraswallowing, nine postswallowing, three mixed), whereas in one patient no transit was seen. Penetration without aspiration was resolved by coughing or throat clearing; aspiration was resolved in 13 patients by assuming the chin-tuck posture and in six by rotating the head; in five patients, it was not resolved. A hyperextended head posture proved to be effective to resolve lack of transit.


By correlating morphological with functional data, VFM enables one not only to precisely characterise the dysphagic disorder but also to identify the most appropriate compensation posture for each patient and verify its effectiveness.



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