Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Date of this Version



Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Vol. 60, pp 2442–2451 September 2017


US government work.


Purpose: Artificial airway procedures such as intubation and tracheotomy are common in the treatment of traumatic injuries, and bolus modifications may be implemented to help manage swallowing disorders. This study assessed artificial airway status, bolus properties (volume and viscosity), and the occurrence of laryngeal penetration and/or aspiration in relation to mechanical features of swallowing.

Method: Coordinates of anatomical landmarks were extracted at minimum and maximum hyolaryngeal excursion from 228 videofluoroscopic swallowing studies representing 69 traumatically injured U.S. military service members with dysphagia. Morphometric canonical variate and regression analyses examined associations between swallowing mechanics and bolus properties based on artificial airway and penetration–aspiration status.

Results: Significant differences in swallowing mechanics were detected between extubated versus tracheotomized (D = 1.32, p < .0001), extubated versus decannulated (D = 1.74, p < .0001), and decannulated versus tracheotomized (D = 1.24, p < .0001) groups per post hoc discriminant function analysis. Tracheotomy-in-situ and decannulated subgroups exhibited increased head/neck extension and posterior relocation of the larynx. Swallowing mechanics associated with (a) penetration– aspiration status and (b) bolus properties were moderately related for extubated and decannulated subgroups, but not the tracheotomized subgroup, per morphometric regression analysis.

Conclusion: Specific differences in swallowing mechanics associated with artificial airway status and certain bolus properties may guide therapeutic intervention in traumabased dysphagia.