The effect of voluntary pharyngeal swallowing maneuvers on esophageal swallowing physiology

Ashli O'Rourke, Lori B. Morgan, Enrique Coss-Adame, Michele Morrison, Paul Maurice Weinberger, Gregory N Postma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The purpose of our study was to evaluate whether swallowing maneuvers designed to impact pharyngeal physiology would also impact esophageal physiology. Healthy volunteers underwent high-resolution manometry while performing three randomized swallowing maneuvers with and without a 5-ml bolus: normal swallowing, Mendelsohn maneuver, and effortful swallowing. We examined esophageal parameters of peristaltic swallows, hypotensive or failed swallows ("nonperistaltic swallows"), distal contractile integral (DCI), contractile front velocity (CFV), intrabolus pressure, and transition zone (TZ) defect. Four females and six males (median age 39 years; range 25-53) were included in the study. The overall number of nonperistaltic swallows was 21/40 (53 %) during normal swallowing, 27/40 (66 %) during the Mendelsohn maneuver, and 13/40 (33 %) during effortful swallowing. There were significantly more overall nonperistaltic swallows with the Mendelsohn maneuver compared with effortful swallowing (p = 0.003). While swallowing a 5-ml bolus, there were more nonperistaltic swallows during the Mendelsohn maneuver (12/20, 60 %) compared to that during normal swallowing (6/20, 30 %) (p = 0.05) and more peristaltic swallows during effortful swallowing as compared to Mendelsohn maneuver (p = 0.003). Intrabolus esophageal pressure was greater during the Mendelsohn maneuver swallows in the bolus-swallowing condition as compared to normal swallowing (p = 0.02). There was no statistical difference in DCI, CFV, or TZ defect between swallowing conditions. The Mendelsohn maneuver may result in decreased esophageal peristalsis while effortful swallowing may improve esophageal peristalsis. Because it is important to understand the implications for the entire swallowing mechanism when considering retraining techniques for our patients, further investigation is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014


  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Dysphagia
  • Esophageal peristalsis
  • High-resolution manometry
  • Hypotensive peristalsis
  • Swallowing maneuvers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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