Application of ultrasonography in assessing oropharyngeal dysphagia in stroke patients

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2012 Sep;38(9):1522-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.04.017. Epub 2012 Jun 12.


This study applied submental ultrasonography (SUS) to measure changes in dysphagic stroke patients' tongue thickness and hyoid bone displacement when swallowing 5 mL of water and correlated the results with the severity of clinical dysphagia. We included 60 stroke patients (30 tube-feeding-dependent and 30 on regular oral intake) and 30 healthy controls. An additional 10 healthy people were recruited to assess the reliability of SUS. Measurements of hyoid bone displacement using videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS) and SUS were compared for 12 stroke patients to assess the correlation between the two methods. Changes in tongue thickness and hyoid bone displacement were significantly less in the tube-feeding group. Those with a tongue thickness change of less than 1.0 cm and hyoid bone displacement of less than 1.5 cm were likely to be tube-feeding. SUS showed good intra-rater/inter-rater reliability and correlated well with VFSS measurement. SUS can be an adjunct assessment tool of swallowing.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Barium Sulfate
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contrast Media
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Hyoid Bone / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hyoid Bone / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Tongue / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tongue / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Video Recording


  • Contrast Media
  • Barium Sulfate