Patients with respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may have swallowing dysfunction.
The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing in patients with COPD.
We studied 16 patients with clinical manifestations and pulmonary function tests diagnosis of COPD (mean age: 68 years) and 15 nonsmoking healthy volunteers (mean age: 65 years) with normal pulmonary function tests. All subjects were submitted to clinical and videofluoroscopic evaluation of swallowing. Each subject performed in duplicate swallows of 5 mL and 10 mL of liquid bolus, paste bolus, and a solid bolus.
In general, the duration of the events of the pharyngeal phase of swallowing was longer in COPD patients than controls. The difference was significant in the laryngeal vestibular closure, hyoid movement, and pharyngeal transit with swallows of both volumes of liquid bolus; in oral–pharyngeal transit with 5 mL paste bolus; and in pharyngeal and oral–pharyngeal transit with solid bolus. The difference between the duration of maximal laryngeal elevation and the duration of pharyngeal transit was higher in control subjects than in patients with COPD.