Taste and Temperature in Swallowing Transit Time after Stroke

Paula C. Colaa, Ana R. Gattoa, Roberta G. da Silvad, André A. Spadottoe, Priscila W.Ribeiroa, Arthur O. Schelpb, Lidia R. Carvalhoc, Maria A.C.A. Henrya

Cerebrovasc Dis Extra 2012;2:45-51 (DOI: 10.1159/000339888)


Background: Oropharyngeal dysphagia is common in individuals after stroke. Taste and temperature are used in dysphagia rehabilitation. The influence of stimuli, such as taste and temperature, on swallowing biomechanics has been investigated in both healthy individuals and in individuals with neurological disease. However, some questions still remain unanswered, such as how the sequence of offered stimuli influences the pharyngeal response. The goal of the present study was to determine the influence of the sequence of stimuli, sour taste and cold temperature, on pharyngeal transit time during deglutition in individuals after stroke. Methods: The study included 60 individuals with unilateral ischemic stroke, 29 males and 31 females, aged 41–88 years (mean age: 66.2 years) examined 0–50 days after ictus (median: 6 days), with mild to moderate oropharyngeal dysphagia. Exclusion criteria were hemorrhagic stroke patients, patients with decreased level of consciousness, and clinically unstable patients, as confirmed by medical evaluation. The individuals were divided into two groups of 30 individuals each. Group 1 received a nonrandomized sequence of stimuli (i.e. natural, cold, sour, and sour-cold) and group 2 received a randomized sequence of stimuli. A videofluoroscopic swallowing study was performed to analyze the pharyngeal transit time. Four different stimuli (natural, cold, sour, and sour-cold) were offered. The images were digitalized and specific software was used to measure the pharyngeal transit time. Since the values did not present regular distribution and uniform variances, nonparametric tests were performed. Results: Individuals in group 1 presented a significantly shorter pharyngeal transit time with the sour-cold stimulus than with the other stimuli. Individuals in group 2 did not show a significant difference in pharyngeal transit time between stimuli. Conclusions: The results showed that the sequence of offered stimuli influences the pharyngeal transit time in a different way in individuals after stroke and suggest that, when the sour-cold stimulus is offered in a randomized sequence, it can influence the response to the other stimuli in stroke patients. Hence, the sour-cold stimulus could be used as a therapeutic aid in dysphagic stroke patients.


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