Coordination of deglutitive glottal function and pharyngeal bolus transit during normal eating

K. S. Dua, J. Ren, E. Bardan, P. Xie, R. Shaker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Deglutitive glottal function during the preparatory phase of swallowing and its coordination with bolus transit during normal eating are important for airway protection. The aim of this study was to examine this coordination during consumption of a normal meal. Methods: Fifteen healthy volunteers were studied using a videoendoscopic and videofluoroscopic technique. Results: A total of 207 liquid and 470 solid bolus swallows were analyzed. In 60% of liquid and 76% of solid food swallows, the bolus was seen in the pharynx before a swallow was initiated. Entry of boluses into the pharynx was associated with brief partial adduction of the vocal cords. Solid food entered and traversed the pharynx at the midline, whereas liquid bolus was split around the larynx and rejoined in the hypopharynx. Swallowing was initiated significantly earlier when bolus made contact with the upper third of the epiglottis compared with vallecula or pyriform sinuses. Conclusions: In more than half of the instances, during normal eating, food enters the pharynx during the preparatory phase before a swallow is initiated, the path of pharyngeal transit of solid bolus is different from that of liquid bolus, and the epiglottal edge appears to be the most sensitive trigger zone for swallowing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication DisordersR01DC000669


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