The Relationship Between Pharyngeal Constriction and Post-swallow Residue

Shauna L. Stokely, Melanie Peladeau-Pigeon, Chelsea Leigh, Sonja M. Molfenter, Catriona M. Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pharyngeal constriction has been proposed as a parameter that may distinguish functional from impaired swallows. We employed anatomically normalized pixel-based measures of pharyngeal area at maximum constriction, and the ratio of this measure to area at rest, and explored the association between these measures and post-swallow residue using the normalized residue ratio scale (NRRS). Videofluoroscopy data for 5 ml boluses of 22 % (w/v) liquid barium were analyzed from 20 healthy young adults and 40 patients with suspected neurogenic dysphagia. The frames of maximum pharyngeal constriction and post-swallow hyoid rest were extracted. Pixel-based measures of pharyngeal area were made using ImageJ and size-normalized using the squared C2–C4 vertebral distance as a reference scalar. Post-swallow residue and the areas of the vallecular and pyriform sinus spaces were measured on the hyoid rest frame to calculate the NRRSv and NRRSp. The dataset was divided into swallows with residue within or exceeding the upper confidence interval boundary seen in the healthy participants. Mixed model repeated measures ANOVAs were used to compare pharyngeal area (rest, constriction) and the pharyngeal constriction ratio, between individuals with and without residue. Measures of pharyngeal area at maximum constriction were significantly larger (i.e., less constricted, p = 0.000) in individuals with post-swallow residue in either the valleculae or the pyriform sinus. These results support the idea that interventions targeted toward improving pharyngeal constriction have the potential to be effective in reducing post-swallow residue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-356
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 17 2015


  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Pharyngeal constriction
  • Post-swallow residue
  • Videofluoroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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