Objectives: Deglutition is a highly integrated process of neural signaling and coordinated muscular contraction that begins with bolus preparation in the oral cavity and ends with closure of the lower esophageal sphincter after bolus passage. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between measures of oropharyngeal and esophageal swallow function.
Methods: A retrospective review was performed of patients who underwent modified barium swallow study (MBSS) and multichannel intraluminal impedance-esophageal manometry (MII-EM) over 7 years at an academic institution. The MBSS was scored with the Modified Barium Swallow Impairment Profile (MBSImP). Associations between impairments as measured by the MBSImP and MII-EM were assessed with a 2-sided Fisher's exact test.
Results: One hundred sixty-four patients met the inclusion criteria for the study. Comparison of MBSImP component and oral and pharyngeal total regional scores to MII-EM scores revealed a significant association between abnormal esophageal clearance on MBSS (MBSImP component 17) and abnormal findings on MII-EM (p < 0.001). Delay in initiation of pharyngeal swallow (MBSImP component 6) was significantly associated with abnormal esophageal clearance on MBSS (p = 0.023).
Conclusions: Abnormal esophageal clearance on MBSS (MBSImP component 17) indicates a need for further esophageal testing. A functional interrelationship between abnormalities of oropharyngeal and esophageal swallowing does exist, illuminating the importance of thorough pharyngoesophageal examination for dysphagia symptoms.