Taste manipulation and swallowing mechanics in trauma-related sensory-based dysphagia

Angela M. Dietsch, H. Duncan Dorris, William G. Pearson, Katie E. Dietrich-Burns, Nancy Pearl Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study explored the effects of highconcentration taste manipulation trials on swallow function in persons with sensory-based dysphagia. Method: Dysphagia researchers partnered with clinical providers to prospectively identify traumatically injured U.S. military service members (N = 18) with sensorybased dysphagia as evidenced by delayed initiation and/or decreased awareness of residue/penetration/ aspiration. Under videofluoroscopy, participants swallowed trials of 3 custom-mixed taste stimuli: unflavored (40% weight/volume [wt/vol] barium sulfate in distilled water), sour (2.7%wt/vol citric acid in 40% wt/vol barium suspension), and sweet-sour (1.11% wt/vol citric acid plus 8% wt/vol sucrose in 40% wt/vol barium suspension). Trials were analyzed and compared via clinical rating tools (the Modified Barium Swallow Impairment Profile [Martin-Harris et al., 2008] and the Penetration-Aspiration Scale [Rosenbek, Robbins, Roecker, Coyle, & Wood, 1996]). Additionally, a computational analysis of swallowing mechanics (CASM) was applied to a subset of 9 swallows representing all 3 tastants from 3 participants. Results: Friedman’s tests for the 3 stimuli revealed significantly (p < .05) improved functional ratings for Penetration-Aspiration Scale and pharyngoesophageal opening. CASM indicated differences in pharyngeal swallowing mechanics across all tastant comparisons (p ≤ .0001). Eigenvectors revealed increased tongue base retraction, hyoid elevation, and pharyngeal shortening for sweet-sour and, to a lesser extent, sour than for unflavored boluses. Conclusion: Advantageous changes in certain parameters of oropharyngeal swallowing physiology were noted with high-intensity tastants per both clinical ratings and subsequent CASM, suggesting potential therapeutic application for taste manipulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2703-2712
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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