Normal adult swallowing of liquid and viscous material: scintigraphic data on bolus transit and oropharyngeal residues

Dysphagia. Winter 1996;11(1):41-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00385799.


Scintigraphic data are provided for 20 normal control subjects, 39-65 years of age. Each subject swallowed 10 cc of water and 10 cc of a more viscous material (1,100 centipoise) consisting of apple juice thickened with Thick-It, a commercial food thickener. The test substances were combined with 2.5 mCi Tc-99m sulfur colloid. Scintigraphic data were acquired in dynamic mode for 10 sec at 25 frames/sec as the subject swallowed. Time-activity (TA) data were used to compute transit times, percentage residues in the mouth and pharynx, percent ingested, and a derived swallow efficiency score. The liquid was ingested in a single swallow by all subjects, and 9 cc was actually transferred to the esophagus. In contrast, for the viscous material, 11/20 subjects performed a second clearing swallow within the 10-sec interval. On the first swallow with the viscous substance, an average of 7 cc was transferred to the esophagus. Scintigraphy offers an excellent technique for determining natural and preferred volumes for swallowing a variety of bolus consistencies, since it can quantify the volume of each swallow or partial swallow. In this group of subjects the oral discharge time was shorter with the viscous material than with the water, but the pharyngeal transit times were not significantly different for the two bolus consistencies. Numerical efficiency scores were lower for the viscous material, indicating that such a measure is bolus dependent.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beverages
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophagus / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mouth / physiology*
  • Oropharynx / diagnostic imaging
  • Oropharynx / physiology
  • Pharynx / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pharynx / physiology*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Solutions
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sulfur Colloid
  • Time Factors
  • Viscosity
  • Water


  • Solutions
  • Water
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sulfur Colloid