Oral vs. pharyngeal dysphagia: Surface electromyography randomized study

Michael Vaiman, Oded Nahlieli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background. A clear differential diagnosis between oral and pharyngeal dysphagia remains an unsolved problem. Disorders of the oral cavity are frequently overlooked when dysphagia/odybophagia complaints are assessed. Surface electromyographic (sEMG) studies were performed on randomly assigned patients with oral and pharyngeal pathology to evaluate their dysphagia complaints for the sake of differential diagnosis. Methods. Parameters evaluated during swallowing for patients after dental surgery (1: n = 62), oral infections (2: n = 49), acute tonsillitis (3: n = 66) and healthy controls (4: n = 50) included timing and amplitude of sEMG activity of masseter, infrahyoid and submental muscles. Results. The duration of swallows and drinking periods was significantly increased in dental patients and was normal in patients with tonsillitis. The electric activity of masseter was significantly lower in Groups 1 and 2 in comparison with the patients with tonsillitis and controls. The submental and infrahyoid activity was normal in dental patients but infrahyoid activity in patients with tonsillitis was high. Conclusion. Dysphagia following dental surgery or oral infections does not affect pharynx and submental muscles and has clear sEMG signs: increased duration of a single swallow, longer drinking time, low activity of the masseter, and normal range of submental activity. Patients with tonsillitis present hyperactivity of infrahyoid muscles. These data could be used for evaluation of symptoms when differential dental/ENT diagnosis is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalBMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 23 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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