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Scintigraphic measurement of oropharyngeal transit in man.

Scintigraphic studies of the oropharyngeal transit of a liquid bolus were performed in 15 healthy controls, 12 patients with symptoms of oral-pharyngeal dysphagia, and 13 patients with neuromuscular disease, who did not have dysphagia. Gamma camera imaging of the head, neck, and upper thorax was undertaken, in the lateral projection, during the swallowing of the radiolabeled bolus of water. Inspection of summed images permitted the selection of regions of interest (ROI) to represent the mouth, pharynx, and upper esophagus. Transit times between each ROI were calculated and compared. Significant prolongation of bolus transit time between the mouth and esophagus was present in both patients with and without dysphagia (0.59 +/- 0.38 sec and 0.33 +/- 0.7 sec; mean +/- SD, respectively) compared with controls (0.26 +/- 0.04 sec P less than 0.001, P less than 0.01, respectively, Mann-Whitney U test). Repeat studies in 25 individuals indicated that the transit measurements were more reproducible between swallows in normal subjects than in patients with symptoms. Deglutitive scintigraphy provides a noninvasive technique for the quantitative study of swallowing and its disorders.

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