19.11.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2020
Presbyphagia Diagnostics Using M-Mode Ultrasound: Changes in the Tongue Movement Pattern
- Julie Cläre Nienstedt, Frank Müller, Alexander Rösler, Christina Pflug
Age-related physiological changes of the swallowing act impair particularly the oral phase and the tongue function, which is very important for bolus preparation and transfer. At present, there are no easily applicable methods for measurement of this phase of swallowing. This study was designed to investigate the deglutitive tongue movement by M-mode ultrasound and to compare the collected parameters of different age groups. In this exploratory prospective study, the tongue and its movements of 20 younger and 30 older women were examined during swallowing by B-mode and M-mode ultrasound. Preexisting dysphagia or malnutrition as well as psychic or neurological deficits were excluded by clinical examination and screening with the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Short Form (MNA-SF), the Gugging Swallowing Screen (GUSS), the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Barthel Index. The data were compared with each other and statistically analyzed. With increasing age, a change in the tongue movement pattern becomes apparent. In the group of older women, the vertical lingual movement had a smaller amplitude (p < 0.001) and a shorter time to the maximum amplitude (p < 0.03) than in the group of younger women. However, there were no differences in the tongue diameter (p > 0.4). The tongue movement pattern appears to be subject to age-specific changes, in contrast to anatomy. The use of M-mode ultrasonography is an easy, radiation-free and cost-effective method for the assessment of the oral phase of swallowing. Limitations are the widely scattered values of the ultrasound findings. Further studies are needed for validation and definition of standard values for this promising method.