Pharyngeal pressure differences between four types of swallowing in healthy participants

Aamir Al-Toubi, Sebastian Doeltgen, Stephanie Daniels, David Corey, Maggie-Lee Huckabee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The aim of this observational study was to identify biomechanical differences, as measured by pharyngeal manometric pressure patterns, between discrete and continuous water swallowing, as well as volitionally initiated and reflexive swallowing. Methods: Using pharyngeal manometry, swallowing-related pressures from 24 young healthy individuals were recorded at three locations: upper pharynx, mid-pharynx and upper oesophageal sphincter (UES) during four swallowing conditions: discrete saliva swallowing, discrete 10. ml water swallowing, volitional continuous water swallowing, and reflexive continuous water swallowing. Measures of peak pressure and pressure duration at each level were compared across conditions using repeated-measures analysis of variance. Results: UES nadir pressure during saliva swallowing was lower than during water swallowing conditions (p. <. 0.05). In addition, nadir pressure during discrete 10. ml water swallowing was lower than during reflexive and volitional continuous water swallowing conditions (p. <. 0.05). Saliva swallowing produced longer pressure duration than water swallowing conditions at the upper pharynx (p. <. 0.05). Saliva swallowing produced pressure of greater duration than reflexive continuous water swallowing at mid-pharynx (p. <. 0.05). Further, discrete 10. ml water swallowing produced longer UES opening duration and longer pharyngeal pressure generation (p. <. 0.05) than reflexive continuous water swallowing or saliva swallowing. Conclusion: Pressure generation differs between swallowing types and bolus types at the level of the UES in particular. These physiological differences between swallowing and bolus types may support clinical decisions for individuals with impaired swallowing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-138
    Number of pages7
    JournalPhysiology and Behavior
    Early online date2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


    • Continuous swallowing
    • Discrete swallowing
    • Pharyngeal manometry
    • Pharyngeal pressure


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