Lingual pumping (LP) is a repetitive, involuntary, anteroposterior movement of the tongue on the soft palate that is executed prior to transferring the food bolus to the pharynx, but we also observed LP when multiple swallows were taken. LP may be associated with rigidity and bradykinesia in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). This phenomenon tends to be more prevalent in dysphagic PD patients, and its impact on swallowing dynamics remains poorly understood.
To evaluate how LP interferes with the oral and pharyngeal phases of the swallowing of foods of different consistencies and volumes.
We used videofluoroscopy to study the swallowing of 69 PD patients performing 10 swallows of barium mixed with foods of different consistencies and volumes.
LP was associated with the unstable intra-oral organization of the bolus, the loss of bolus control, the pharyngeal retention of food and food entering the airway. This abnormal movement was also associated with a shorter oral transit time and was found to be more prevalent with food of thicker consistencies.
LP is associated with swallowing incoordination and with food entering the airway. Preventive measures to minimise the pulmonary or nutritional consequences of this behaviour are necessary.
© 2015 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.