Unilateral vocal fold immobility is the neurological disorder most frequently seen in the larynx,
what may affect the swallowing.
Our objective was to evaluate the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing in patients with vocal fold immobility.
We studied by videofluoroscopy the swallowing of 14 patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility and 11
control subjects. The examination was performed with swallows of 5 mL and 10 mL liquid and paste boluses. The oral
transit, pharyngeal transit and clearance, the duration of upper esophageal sphincter (UES) transit, the duration of the
hyoid movement and the timing of the events were measured.
With swallows of 10 mL liquid bolus and 5 mL paste bolus a longer duration of UES transit was seen in patients
(p = 0.01). The UES opened earlier in the control subjects with the increase in bolus volume (p = 0.003), but not in
patients with vocal fold immobility.
We conclude that patients with unilateral vocal fold immobility may have alteration of bolus transit through
the UES and no adaptation in the swallowing timing to the increase in bolus volume.