Nicole Schaen-Heacock, M.S. recently published an article on early research in pharyngeal swallowing pressures in patients with radiation-associated dysphagia. The purpose of this preliminary study was to describe pharyngeal swallowing pressures in patients with radiation-associated dysphagia (RAD) and late radiation-associated dysphagia (LRAD) using high-resolution manometry (HRM).
Head and neck cancer is the 6th most common cancer worldwide. Common treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can impact swallow function, leading to dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Dysphagia can greatly impact health and quality of life. The purpose of this work was to examine pharyngeal swallowing pressures in patients who experienced dysphagia following treatment for head and neck cancer using High-Resolution Manometry. We found patients in this retrospective study exhibited decreased swallowing pressure duration throughout the pharynx, as well as decreased maximum pressure in the hypopharynx and decreased pharyngeal contractile integral. These altered pressure measurements may indicate an increased risk for aspiration (food/liquid enters the airway) and subsequent aspiration pneumonia. Understanding how swallowing pressures are altered in patients treated for head and neck cancer can assist clinicians in forming more precise treatment plans.