Sonographic evaluation of swallowing biomechanics: a preliminary study

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate, by means of ultrasonography, the spatial parameters of the hyolaryngeal complex in the deglutition dynamics as well the correlation between age and effects. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The present prospective and quantitative study included 39 healthy men and women in the age range between 20 and 70 years (mean, 45.56; standard deviation, 14.53). The swallowing biomechanics corresponding to the measurement of the distance between the upper portion of the hyoid bone and the upper rim of the thyroid cartilage at the moment of maximum laryngeal elevation was evaluated. Measurements were performed with the ingestion of pasty or liquid food. RESULTS: The variation of the distance between the hyoid bone and the larynx presented a positive association with aging only in the swallowing of pasty food that requires a higher lingual propulsive activity than liquid food does. CONCLUSION: An increase in the distance between the hyoid bone and the larynx, corresponding to a poorer laryngeal elevation, may occur during the deglutition of pasty food as a result of aging, a process where a decrease in functional reserves is observed even in healthy individuals. Ultrasonography can detect the swallowing behavior related to foods consistency, demonstrating the diagnostic potentiality of this method in the evaluation of the deglutition.

Ultrasonography; Swallowing; Cervical; Dysphagia; Biomechanics; Larynx

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