Common medical conditions in the elderly: Impact on pharyngeal bolus transit

Katherine A. Kendall, Rebecca J Leonard, Susan McKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Deglutition in the elderly may be impacted by the sequelae of medical diseases. It is unknown if the long-term presence of common medical diseases, such as arthritis and hypertension, leads to changes in neurologic and muscular function and thus swallowing ability. The aim of this project was to determine if the duration of bolus pharyngeal transit in nondysphagic elderly individuals with chronic medical problems is longer than that measured in nondysphagic elderly individuals without medical problems. Videofluoroscopic swallowing studies were performed on 63 elderly subjects with a variety of well-controlled medical problems and on 23 elderly subjects with no medical problems. The mean timing of pharyngeal bolus transit was compared between the two groups. The relationship between the presence of medical problems and the likelihood of transit times prolonged beyond two standard deviations of the mean transit time found in 60 younger normal controls was also analyzed. Findings included significantly prolonged pharyngeal transit time in the group of subjects with medical problems compared with those subjects without medical problems for a small bolus size. Those individuals with hypertension demonstrated the most significant delays in bolus transit. The presence of medical problems did correlate with an increased likelihood of prolonged transit times. This preliminary study indicates that medical problems common in elderly populations are associated with a deterioration of swallowing function and that changes identified in elderly individuals may not be due to aging alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Elderly
  • Swallowing
  • Videofluoroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Common medical conditions in the elderly: Impact on pharyngeal bolus transit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this