Deglutitive upper esophageal sphincter opening (UES) in the elderly has been incompletely studied. Our aim was to determine in the elderly the temporal and dimensional characteristics of deglutitive UES opening; anterior and superior hyoid and laryngeal excursions as measures of distracting forces imparted on the UES; and hypopharyngeal intrabolus pressure (IBP). Fourteen healthy elderly and 14 healthy young volunteers were studied by concurrent videofluoroscopy and hypopharyngeal manometry during swallowing of 5- and 10- mL barium boluses. The anteroposterior UES diameter, as well as the anterior hyoid bone and laryngeal excursion, was significantly smaller in the elderly compared to the young (p < .05) for 5-mL barium boluses, but not for 10-mL boluses. The lateral diameter of UES opening was similar between groups for all boluses. The IBP for 5- and 10-mL swallows in the elderly was significantly higher than that in the young (p < .05). We conclude that anteroposterior deglutitive UES opening and hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage anterior excursion are reduced in the elderly. These changes are associated with increased IBP, suggesting a higher pharyngeal outflow resistance in the elderly compared to the young.
- Hydrodynamic resistance to flow
- Traction forces