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Communication Sciences and Disorders


Taeok Park

Mentor Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders


Purpose: Dysphagia is a common symptom of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and may lead to fatal consequences. Various stages of swallowing were examined to enhance knowledge of swallowing dysfunction and its progression in patients with MSA. Another purpose of this study was to gain insight into what stages of swallowing the dysfunction primarily occurs.

Method: The swallows of two patients were examined in the temporal measurements of oral transit time (OTT), pharyngeal transit time (PTT), upper esophageal sphincter (UES), initiation of laryngeal closure (ILC), and laryngeal closure duration (LCD). Each temporal measurement was examined in three different consistencies: thin, thick, and puree. Each consistency was five milliliters. The normal patient’s temporal measurements were recorded once, and the patient with MSA’s temporal measurements were recorded in both an initial and follow-up evaluation, with three months in between measurements. A videoflurosopic study was used to collect quantitative data in seconds and milliseconds on each patient’s swallows.

Results: There were significant differences and trends in temporal measurements when comparing normal data to results from the evaluation of the patient with MSA. There were also trends in regard to the consistency that was being swallowed. Overall, OTT and PTT showed increases from the initial to the follow-up evaluation. UES showed the smallest amount of change across evaluation and consistencies, but there were still increases as evaluations were made and MSA progressed. ILC was longest in the follow-up evaluation for all consistencies. LCD was found to increase from the normal to initial evaluation but decreased from the initial to follow-up evaluation for thick and puree consistencies.

Conclusion: The progression of MSA affects many aspects of swallowing. Some of these effects and changes can contribute to an unsafe swallow and possibly aspiration. However, some processes of swallowing adjust to compensate for losses in other areas. Understanding how swallowing progresses in patients with MSA can be beneficial for determining adequate treatment and management of this neurodegenerative disorder.

Short-Term Follow-Up of Oropharyngeal Dysphagia in a Patient with Multiple System Atrophy