Defining Swallowing Function By Age Promises And Pitfalls Of Pigeonholing

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gary McCullough Ph.D , Associate Dean (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Although it is well known now that age affects swallowing function, few data have been reported for larger bolus sizes, such as 20 mL or sequential cup swallows, and few have reported data on the “oldest old,” or those older than 80 years. The purpose of this investigation was to provide data for future investigations on adults, ranging in age from 21 to older than 100 years, using thin liquid, puree, and solid boluses, ranging from 5 mL to 3 oz, and to add to the database regarding the effects of age, gender, bolus size, and bolus volume on swallowing function. Symptoms relating to swallowing dysfunction were also examined, including the presence of oropharyngeal residue and penetration-aspiration. Having incorporated data on larger swallows from older individuals than in the past and incorporating an 8-point penetration-aspiration scale, several findings emerged in this investigation that have not been clearly defined in prior research as being results of the aging process. Most prominently, it was observed that for older individuals laryngeal penetration is common, often with material remaining in the laryngeal vestibule after the swallow. Differences in oral transit duration and the duration of the onset of the pharyngeal swallow that may result from varying methodologies are also discussed. Implications are drawn for the appropriate evaluation and management of older adults with suspected dysphagia.

Additional Information

Gary H. McCullough, Robert T. Wertz, John C. Rosenbek, Debra Suiter, Stephen C. McCoy(2007) "Defining Swallowing Function by Age Promises and Pitfalls of Pigeonholing" Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research Vol. 48 pp.1280–1293 Version of Record Available @ (DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2005/089)
Language: English
Date: 2007
aging, deglutition, penetration-aspiration, stage transition duration

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