Review of Research Studies on Biomechanics of Swallowing and Dysphagia

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Joana Lopes Almeida
Renato Natal Jorge

Abstract

Dysphagia is a prevalent condition characterised by the dysfunction/ incoordination of the anatomical structures involved in the swallowing biomechanics.


Dysphagia can have serious clinical consequences such as pneumonia, malnutrition, dehydration and even death. It implies a high negative impact on patients quality of life and may also represent increased financial costs in order to treat associated complications.


It is essential to correctly identify and evaluate patients with this problem. However, the gold standard diagnostic exams present risk of aspiration, they are uncomfortable and invasive, and still present other inherent disadvantages/risks related with the technique itself.


The simulation area may contribute to a more detailed knowledge of the swallowing biomechanics and, when applied to pathologic scenarios (i.e. dysphagia), to identify higher risk patients and manage the treatment in a more adequate and specific way. It will also seems to be able to reduce the use of invasive techniques, excessive radiation and associated economical costs.


The aim of this paper is to review the existing research studies on biomechanical mechanisms of swallowing and dysphagia.


Computer simulation seems to be a solution to better understand these mechanisms and even to reduce clinical disadvantages when compared with the available diagnostic methods used with these patients.

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