Quantitative aspects of swallowing in an elderly nondysphagic population

Håkan Nilsson, Olle Ekberg, Rolf Olsson, Bengt Hindfelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of swallowing impairment increases with age and is a major health care problem in the elderly. It has been assumed that age-related changes in nerves and muscles hamper muscle strength and coordination of swallowing. However, it is unclear what impairment is related to primary aging and what is the consequence of diseases prevalent in the elderly (secondary aging). In order to quantify swallowing in nondysphagic elderly we used the noninvasive ROSS (Repetitive Oral Suction Swallow) test. A total of 53 individuals aged 76 +/- 5 years (mean +/- SD) were examined. We found that the nondysphagic elderly demonstrated significant differences compared with young individuals in 10 of 17 measured variables, i.e., decreased peak suction pressure, increased frequency of multiple swallows after one ingestion, increased frequency of polyphasic laryngeal movements, increased frequency of inspiration after swallowing, and increased frequency of coughing during or after swallowing. Therefore, primary aging mainly seems to influence coordination of swallowing, but oral and pharyngeal swallow per se seem to be unaffected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-184
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • Elderly
  • Nondysphagic
  • Repetitive oral suction swallow test
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders


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