Content » Vol 41, Issue 8

Original report

Acoustic analysis of swallowing sounds: A new technique for assessing dysphagia

Andrea Santamato, Francesco Panza, Vincenzo Solfrizzi, Anna Russo, Vincenza Frisardi, Marisa Megna, Maurizio Ranieri, Pietro Fiore
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0384


Objective: To perform acoustic analysis of swallowing sounds, using a microphone and a notebook computer system, in healthy subjects and patients with dysphagia affected by neurological diseases, testing the positive/negative predictive value of a pathological pattern of swallowing sounds for penetration/aspiration.
Design: Diagnostic test study, prospective, not blinded, with the penetration/aspiration evaluated by fibreoptic endo­scopy of swallowing as criterion standard.
Subjects: Data from a previously recorded database of normal swallowing sounds for 60 healthy subjects according to gender, age, and bolus consistency was compared with those of 15 patients with dysphagia from a university hospital referral centre who were affected by various neurological diseases.
Methods: Mean duration of the swallowing sounds and post-swallowing apnoea were recorded. Penetration/aspiration was verified by fibreoptic endoscopy of swallowing in all patients with dysphagia.
Results: The mean duration of swallowing sounds for a liquid bolus of 10 ml water was significantly different between patients with dysphagia and healthy patients. We also described patterns of swallowing sounds and tested the negative/positive predictive values of post-swallowing apnoea for penetration/aspiration verified by fibreoptic endoscopy of swallowing (sensitivity 0. 67 (95% confidence interval 0. 24–0. 94); specificity 1. 00 (95% confidence interval 0. 56–1. 00)).
Conclusion: The proposed technique for recording and measuring swallowing sounds could be incorporated into the bedside evaluation, but it should not replace the use of more diagnostic and valuable measures.

Lay Abstract


Do you want to comment on this paper? The comments will show up here and if appropriate the comments will also separately be forwarded to the authors. You need to login/create an account to comment on articles. Click here to login/create an account.