Dysphagia in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most important causes of mortality in these patients.
Swallowing difficulty in Parkinson’s disease is associated with lingual pumping or festination, anterior escape, premature loss of bolus, oral and pharyngeal retention, multiple swallows, laryngeal penetration and aspiration.
The authors of this article evaluated the impact of lingual pumping on the oral and pharyngeal phases of swallowing using videofluoroscopy to observe 10 swallows of barium of different consistency and volume in 69 patients with PD. They found that lingual pumping or lingual rocking was associated with loss of bolus control, unstable organisation of the food bolus, pharyngeal food retention and uncoordinated swallowing leading to aspiration. This was more noticeable with food of thicker consistencies. They recommend changing the consistency of food and / or volume of food or adoption of tools to facilitate better organisation of food bolus to decrease morbidity and mortality in PD patients. The article provides swallowing therapists information to improve their management of PD patients with dysphagia.