Swallowing Evaluation in Patients With Unilateral Vocal Fold Immobility

Geruza Costa Gonzaga Aneas, Hilton Marcos Alves Ricz, Francisco Verissimo Mello-Filho, Roberto Oliveira Dantas


Background: Unilateral vocal fold immobility is the neurological disorder most frequently seen in the larynx that may cause swallowing dysfunction. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing in patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility.

Methods: It was evaluated by videofluoroscopy of the swallowing of 14 patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility and 11 control subjects. The examination was performed with swallows of 5 mL and 10 mL of liquid and paste boluses. The oral transit, pharyngeal transit and clearance, the duration of upper esophageal sphincter (UES) transit, the duration of the hyoid movement, and the timing of the events were measured.

Results: With swallows of 10 mL of liquid bolus (controls: 0.23 ± 0.04s, patients: 0.27 ± 0.05s, p = 0.03) and 5 mL of paste bolus (controls: 0.18 ± 0.04s, patients: 0.22 ± 0.04s, p = 0.01) there was a longer duration of UES transit in patients compared with controls. The UES opened earlier in the control subjects with the increase in bolus volume from 5 mL to 10 mL (p < 0.05), an effect that was not seen in patients with vocal fold immobility.

Conclusions: We conclude that patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility may have alteration of bolus transit through the UES and have no adaptation in the swallowing timing related to the increase in bolus volume.

Gastroenterol Res. 2010;3(6):245-252
doi: https://doi.org/10.4021/gr270w


Pharynx; Swallowing; Upper esophageal sphincter; Vocal fold immobility; Deglutition

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