Viscosity Testing: Opening Pandora's Box In order to effectively communicate information about fluid thickness with other speech-language pathologists (SLPs), other professionals, and individuals with dysphagia, it is necessary to have a common language. Unfortunately, SLPs have neither a common language (definitions and terminology) nor an agreed upon objective system for measuring thickened fluids. Modification ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2006
Viscosity Testing: Opening Pandora's Box
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie A. Y. Cichero
    Division of Speech Pathology The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
    The Pero Clinic St Andrews Place, Spring Hill, Australia
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2006
Viscosity Testing: Opening Pandora's Box
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2006, Vol. 15, 2-8. doi:10.1044/sasd15.1.2
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2006, Vol. 15, 2-8. doi:10.1044/sasd15.1.2
In order to effectively communicate information about fluid thickness with other speech-language pathologists (SLPs), other professionals, and individuals with dysphagia, it is necessary to have a common language. Unfortunately, SLPs have neither a common language (definitions and terminology) nor an agreed upon objective system for measuring thickened fluids. Modification of food and fluid textures as a treatment for dysphagia has been discussed since the early 1990s, with the rationale published as far back as 1976 (Langmore & Miller, 1994; Martin, 1991). The premise underlying food and fluid modification rests in bolus cohesion. A more cohesive and viscous bolus, such as a pudding, holds it shape and moves slowly, proving less of a threat to the respiratory system during swallowing. The bolus responds slowly to movements of the tongue, and active force is required to move the bolus any substantial distance in any direction. Thin liquids, such as water, are highly volatile. Such liquids have no cohesive properties, and flow will be determined by minor changes in the positional relationship of oral structures, such as the tongue, jaw, palate or lips. Subtle movement of the tongue can cause the bolus to disappear into the pharynx at the speed that gravity dictates.
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