Effects of Presbyphagia on Oropharyngeal Swallowing Observed during Modified Barium Swallow Studies

Kendrea L. Garand*, J. Beall, E. G. Hill, K. Davidson, J. Blair, W. Pearson, B. Martin-Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Understanding how aging impacts swallowing can help differentiate typical from atypical behaviors. This study aimed to quantify age-related swallowing alterations observed during a modified barium swallow study. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Adult fluoroscopy suite in a metropolitan hospital at an academic center. Participants: 195 healthy adults distributed across 3 age categories: 21–39; 40–59; 60+ years. Measurements: 17 physiologic components of swallowing across three functional domains (oral, pharyngeal, esophageal), including summed composite scores (Oral Total [OT] and Pharyngeal Total [PT]), from the validated and standardized Modified Barium Swallow Impairment Profile. Results: Most components (65%) demonstrated no impairment (scores of “0”). The odds of a worse (higher) score increased significantly with age for: Tongue Control during Bolus Hold, Hyolaryngeal Movement, Laryngeal Closure, Pharyngeal Contraction, and Pharyngoesophageal Segment Opening. OT and PT scores for 40–59-year-olds were worse than the youngest group (p=.01 and p <.001, respectively). Adults 60+ years had significantly worse PT scores among all groups (p-values <.01). Conclusion: Oropharyngeal swallowing physiology evolves as healthy adults age and should be considered during clinical decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-980
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Swallowing
  • adults
  • aging
  • healthy
  • modified barium swallow study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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