Silent aspiration and swallowing physiology after radiotherapy in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Louisa K.Y. Ng*, Kathy Y.S. Lee, Sung Nok CHIU, Peter K.M. Ku, C. Andrew Van Hasselt, Michael C.F. Tong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background. There is a paucity of knowledge on dysphagia in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma postradiotherapy (NPC post-RT). The purpose of this study was to establish silent aspiration occurrence, safe bolus consistency, and their relationship with swallowing physiology in patients with dysphagic NPC post-RT. Methods. Eighty-five patients with dysphagic NPC post-RT were assessed across 4 bolus consistencies. We compared penetration-aspiration scores against 4 swallowing physiology impairments. Results. Silent aspiration occurred in 65.9% of patients with dysphagia, with 64.7% on thin fluids, 35.3% on thick fluids, 11.8% on pureed diet, and 5.9% on soft diet. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) indicated pharyngeal contraction and swallowing response had significant effect on thick fluids (p =.002), thin fluids (p =.017), and soft diet (p =.031). Conclusion. Silent aspiration of thin fluids is a common occurrence in dysphagic NPC post-RT, with least aspiration noted on soft diet. Considering the high incidence of silent aspiration, instrumental assessment in this cohort is crucial. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2010

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1339
Number of pages5
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

User-Defined Keywords

  • bolus consistency
  • dysphagia
  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • penetration-aspiration
  • swallowing physiology


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