The association of swallowing dysfunction and aspiration pneumonia

Bonnie J.W. Martin, Marilyn M. Corlew, Helen Wood, David Olson, Lawrence A. Golopol, Michael Wingo, Nigar Kirmani

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147 Scopus citations


The medical literature has emphasized that aspiration of gastric contents or oral bacteria is a common cause of aspiration pneumonia. Swallowing disorders have been implicated in this disease but not studied at the time that aspiration pneumonia was diagnosed. A significant difference was found in the incidence of videofluoroscopically confirmed oropharyngeal swallowing problems in a group of patients diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia (AP) when compared with patients with nonaspiration pneumonia (NAP). Six of the 9 patients in the AP group aspirated during the videofluoroscopic evaluation and 2 others were considered to be at risk for aspiration. None of the 7 NAP patients demonstrated swallowing problems or aspiration. A significant difference in oral transit time also occurred between the two groups. Liquid was found to have a significantly faster oral transit time than paste or a cookie. Pharyngeal transit times were not found to be significantly different. Although there were only a small number of patients who met the criteria for this pilot study, a strong association was found between swallowing dysfunction and aspiration pneumonia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1994


  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Pneumonia


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