In this study we undertook careful analysis of 13 quantitative physiological variables related to oropharyngeal swallowing from a sample of 42 subacute patients referred for dysphagia assessment. Each patient underwent a videofluoroscopic swallowing examination in which they swallowed up to five boluses of 22 % w/v ultrathin liquid barium suspension administered by teaspoon. Our goal was to determine whether scores on 13 kinematic or temporal parameters of interest were independently associated with the presence of penetration-aspiration in the final compiled dataset of 178 swallows. Participants were classified as aspirators based on the presence of at least one swallow that demonstrated a Penetration-Aspiration Scale score of ≥3. The parameters of interest included six kinematic parameters for capturing hyoid position, three swallow durations [laryngeal closure duration, hyoid movement duration, and upper esophageal sphincter (UES) opening duration], and four swallow intervals (laryngeal closure to UES opening, bolus dwell time in the pharynx prior to laryngeal closure, stage transition duration, and pharyngeal transit time). Mixed-model repeated-measures ANOVAs were conducted to determine the association between each parameter and aspiration status. Only 1 of the 13 parameters tested distinguished aspirators from nonaspirators: aspirators demonstrated significantly shorter UES opening duration. In addition, a trend toward reduced maximum superior position of the hyoid was seen in aspirators. Limitations and future considerations are discussed.
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