Asymptomatic swallowing disorders in elderly patients with parkinson's disease: A description of findings on clinical examination and videofluoroscopy in sixteen patients

Margaret R. Bird, Michael C. Woodward, Elizabeth M. Gibson, Debra J. Phyland, David Fonda

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We sought to ascertain whether patients with Parkinson's disease without symptoms of dysphagia have abnormalities of swallowing, and to describe the characteristics as seen on clinical examination and videofluoroscopy. Patients with stable Parkinson's disease were interviewed for symptoms of dysphagia and 16 asymptomatic patients were enrolled. Whilst on their usual medication, an examination of facial, tongue and palatopharyngeal musculature was made, and a modified barium swallow performed. All patients had at least one abnormality on videofluoroscopic examination of their swallowing. Three patients showed aspiration and 14 had evidence of vallecular residue considered a risk for aspiration. Oropharyngeal transic time was invariably prolonged as was delay in the initiation of swallow. The majority of patients also demonstrated an increased number of tongue elevations and number of swallows to clear their pharynx of the bolus. Despite having no symptoms of dysphagia, the patients demonstrated widespread abnormalities of swallowing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-254
Number of pages4
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Parkinsons disease swallowing

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