Effect of swallowed bolus variables on oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing.
In this investigation, we studied the effects of bolus volume and viscosity on the quantitative features of the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing. Concurrent videofluoroscopic and manometric studies were done in 10 healthy volunteers who were imaged in lateral projection. Videofluorography was done at 30 frames/s while concurrent manometry was done with 5 intraluminal transducers that straddled the pharynx and upper esophageal sphincter (UES). Submental electromyography was recorded also. Swallows of 2-20 ml were recorded for low-viscosity liquid barium and high-viscosity paste barium. Analysis indicated that the major effect of increases in bolus volume was an earlier onset of anterior tongue base movement, superior palatal movement, anterior laryngeal movement, and UES opening. These events provide receptive adaptation for receiving a swallowed bolus. Earlier UES opening was associated with an increase in the duration of sphincter opening and sphincter diameter. The major effects of high bolus viscosity, unrelated to bolus volume, were to delay oral and pharyngeal bolus transit, increase the duration of pharyngeal peristaltic waves, and prolong and increase UES opening. Thus the specific effect of bolus viscosity per se differs substantially from that of bolus volume. We conclude that 1) specific variables of swallowing are affected significantly by the variables of the swallowed bolus, such as volume and viscosity; 2) overall, bolus volume and viscosity affect swallowing in a different manner; and 3) the study findings have implications about the neural control mechanisms that govern swallowing as well as about the diagnosis and treatment of patients with abnormal oral-pharyngeal swallowing.