Evaluation of oropharyngeal deglutitive pressure dynamics in patients with Parkinson's disease

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2022 Apr 1;322(4):G421-G430. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00314.2021. Epub 2022 Feb 9.


In Parkinson's disease (PD), oropharyngeal dysphagia is common and clinically relevant. The neurophysiology of dysphagia in PD is complex and incompletely understood. The aim of the study was to determine the changes in oropharyngeal deglutitive pressure dynamics in PD and to correlate these with clinical characteristics including dysphagia and PD severity. In prospective consecutive series of 64 patients with PD [mean age: 66.9 ± 8.3 (SD)], we evaluated dysphagia severity clinically as well as with Sydney Swallow Questionnaire (SSQ) and Swallow Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (SWAL-QOL). PD severity was assessed with Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS). We used high-resolution pharyngeal impedance manometry (HRPIM) to objectively evaluate swallow function and compared data from 23 age-matched healthy controls [mean age 62.3 ± 9.1 (SD)]. Metrics assessed were upper esophageal sphincter (UES), integrated relaxation pressure (IRP), relaxation time (RT), maximum opening (MaxAdm), and pharyngeal intrabolus pressure (IBP) and pharyngeal contractility (PhCI). Mean MDS-UPDRS score was positively associated with dysphagia severity on SSQ and SWAL-QOL. HRPIM in PD compared with controls showed impaired UES relaxation parameters, with shorter RT, and elevated IRP and IBP. MaxAdm was not affected. The overall pharyngeal contractility was significantly higher in PD. Only the IBP and IRP were associated with PD severity and only IBP was significantly associated with dysphagia severity. UES dysfunction leading to increased flow resistance is common in patients with PD and correlates with dysphagia severity. Increased flow resistance may suggest impaired UES relaxation and/or impaired neuromodulation to bolus volume.NEW & NOTEWORTHY In Parkinson's disease, objective assessment of swallow function with high-resolution impedance manometry identifies upper esophageal sphincter dysfunction leading to increased flow resistance.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; cricopharyngeus; impedance; manometry; oropharyngeal dysphagia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Deglutition / physiology
  • Deglutition Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Deglutition Disorders* / etiology
  • Esophageal Sphincter, Upper / physiology
  • Humans
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease* / complications
  • Parkinson Disease* / diagnosis
  • Pressure
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life