Pharyngeal Swallowing Mechanics Secondary to Hemispheric Stroke

Nelson H. May, Jessica M. Pisegna, Sarah Marchina, Susan E. Langmore, Sandeep Kumar, William G. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background Computational analysis of swallowing mechanics (CASM) is a method that utilizes multivariate shape change analysis to uncover covariant elements of pharyngeal swallowing mechanics associated with impairment using videofluoroscopic swallowing studies. The goals of this preliminary study were to (1) characterize swallowing mechanics underlying stroke-related dysphagia, (2) decipher the impact of left and right hemispheric strokes on pharyngeal swallowing mechanics, and (3) determine pharyngeal swallowing mechanics associated with penetration–aspiration status. Methods Videofluoroscopic swallowing studies of 18 dysphagic patients with hemispheric infarcts and age- and gender-matched controls were selected from well-controlled data sets. Patient data including laterality and penetration–aspiration status were collected. Coordinates mapping muscle group action during swallowing were collected from videos. Multivariate morphometric analyses of coordinates associated with stroke, affected hemisphere, and penetration–aspiration status were performed. Results Pharyngeal swallowing mechanics differed significantly in the following comparisons: stroke versus controls (D = 2.19, P < .0001), right hemispheric stroke versus controls (D = 3.64, P < .0001), left hemispheric stroke versus controls (D = 2.06, P < .0001), right hemispheric stroke versus left hemispheric stroke (D = 2.89, P < .0001), and penetration–aspiration versus within normal limits (D = 2.25, P < .0001). Differences in pharyngeal swallowing mechanics associated with each comparison were visualized using eigenvectors. Conclusions Whereas current literature focuses on timing changes in stroke-related dysphagia, these data suggest that mechanical changes are also functionally important. Pharyngeal swallowing mechanics differed by the affected hemisphere and the penetration–aspiration status. CASM can be used to identify patient-specific swallowing impairment associated with stroke injury that could help guide rehabilitation strategies to improve swallowing outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-961
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Ischemic hemispheric stroke
  • aspiration
  • dysphagia
  • swallowing mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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