Closure of the laryngeal vestibule during swallowing is important for protection of the airways. The present investigation included 53 patients with dysphagia examined cineradiographically with the head held in resting posture, flexion and extension. The ability to protect the airways by the downward movement of the epiglottis and by obliteration of the laryngeal vestibule was studied in different postures of the head. Of 35 patients with normal laryngeal obliteration with the head in resting position 10 showed a defective closure at swallowing in extension. In 18 patients with defective closure of the laryngeal vestibule in resting position 9 were improved on flexion and two on extension of the head. In one patient with defective closure of the laryngeal vestibule in resting position swallowing in flexion showed an aggravated dysfunction. In four other patients the defective closure became more marked on extension. Four patients had less effective downward movement of the epiglottis with the head in extension. Of 10 patients with defective epiglottic movement with the head in resting position two were improved on tilting the head forwards. The results show that the position of the head influences the closure of the airways during swallowing. Patients with defective protection of the laryngeal vestibule should be instructed to swallow with the head tilted forwards.
Acta Radiologica. Diagnosis – SAGE
Published: Aug 30, 2016