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Mechanism Of Sequential Swallowing During Straw Drinking In Healthy Young And Older Adults

Stephanie K. Daniels, David M. Corey, Leslie D. Hadskey, Calli Legendre, Daniel H. Priestly, John C. Rosenbek, Anne L. Foundas

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Recent research has revealed differences between isolated and sequential swallowing in healthy young adults; however, the influence of normal aging on sequential swallowing has not been studied. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of normal aging on deglutition during sequential straw drinking. Videofluoroscopic samples of two 10-s straw drinking trials were obtained for 20 healthy young men (age 29±3 years) and 18 healthy older men (age 69±7 years). Hyolaryngeal complex (HLC) movement patterns, leading edge of the bolus location at swallow onset, and occurrences of airway invasion were determined. Two HLC patterns were identified: (a) HLC lowering with the epiglottis returned to upright between swallows and (b) partially maintained HLC elevation with the epiglottis inverted between swallows. The bolus was frequently in the hypopharynx at swallow onset. Strong associations were identified between age and HLC pattern, age and leading edge of the bolus location, and HLC pattern and leading edge location. Laryngeal penetration was uncommon overall; however, it occurred more frequently in the older adults than in the young adults. A significant relation was identified between age and the average Penetration-Aspiration Scale score. Laryngeal penetration was associated with both HLC movement patterns and hypopharyngeal bolus location, particularly in older adults. Results indicate that subtle age-related differences are evident in healthy young and older adults with sequential straw drinking. These data suggest that specific inherent swallowing patterns may increase the risk of laryngeal penetration with normal aging.