Deglutition after near-fatal choking episode: radiologic evaluation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Acute airway obstruction during oral intake is a relatively common event that may be fetal if not relieved immediately. Deglutition was studied in 75 individuals who had experienced a near-fatal choking episode (NFCE) or sudden inability to breathe during food intake that was promptly relieved by means of a Heimlich maneuver, suctioning, or intubation. Videofluoroscopy supplemented by static imaging revealed abnormal stages of deglutition in 58 individuals: oral, 32; pharyngeal, 19; pharyngoesophageal segment (PES), 28; and esophageal, 23. Forty individuals aspirated a liquid bolus; this was more often due to oral dysfunction (bolus leakage, n = 17; delayed initiation, n = 18) than pharyngeal abnormality (defective closure, n = 13; incomplete transport, n = 9). Oral-stage dysfunction was common in those with neurologic disease, a history of dysphagia, and structural or motor abnormalities of the PES or esophagus. Fourteen patients were able to vocalize during the NFCE, and each demonstrated an abnormality of the PES or esophagus that could obstruct a solid bolus, suggesting that symptoms were not due to airway obstruction. A variety of unsuspected deglutition abnormalities were documented, indicating the usefulness of radiographic evaluation after NFCE.


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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-640
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes