Oropharyngeal dysphagia: Pathophysiology and diagnosis for the anniversary issue of Diseases of the Esophagus

J. A. Logemann*, K. Larsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The oropharyngeal swallow involves a rapid, highly coordinated set of neuromuscular actions beginning with lip closure and terminating with opening of the upper esophageal sphincter. Evaluation of the oropharyngeal swallow usually involves the use of a modified barium swallow radiographic study with the goals of (i) defining the patient's swallow anatomy and physiology causing the dysphagia; and (ii) evaluating the immediate effectiveness of treatment procedures including selected postures, sensory enhancement, swallow maneuvers, and diet changes. Exercise programs may be helpful, but their immediate effects cannot be examined during the initial modified barium swallow. Exercise programs can be evaluated on a second radiographic study 3-4 weeks later. The resultant report should include all of this information. The speech-language pathologist is usually the professional most involved in the evaluation and treatment. Medications and surgery have a very limited role in the treatment of oropharyngeal dysphagia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Dysphagia
  • Evaluation
  • Oropharyngeal swallow
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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