Dysphagia. 2013 Mar 1
Temporal parameters such as stage transition duration, bolus location at swallow onset, and pharyngeal transit time are often measured during videofluoroscopy, but these parameters may vary depending on assessment instructions. Specifically, “command” (cued) swallows have been observed to alter timing compared to spontaneous (noncued) situations in healthy older adults. The aim of our study was to confirm whether healthy young people show timing differences for thin liquid swallows between cued and noncued conditions. Twenty healthy young adults swallowed 10-cc boluses of ultrathin barium in videofluoroscopy. The cued condition was to hold the bolus in the mouth for 5 s before swallowing. Three noncued swallows were also recorded. In the cued condition, bolus advancement to the pyriform sinuses prior to swallow initiation was seen significantly less frequently. Stage transition durations showed a nonsignificant trend toward being shorter. Pharyngeal transit times and pharyngeal response time (a measure capturing the interval between hyoid movement onset and bolus clearance through the upper esophageal sphincter) were both significantly longer in the cued condition. Our study in healthy young adults confirms findings previously observed in older adults, namely, that swallow onset patterns and timing differ between cued and noncued conditions. In particular, bolus advancement to more distal locations in the pharynx at the time of swallow onset is seen more frequently in noncued conditions. This pattern should not be mistaken for impairment in swallow onset timing during swallowing assessment.