Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

COPD-related Problems Hard To Swallow

Date:
April 3, 2009
Source:
American Thoracic Society
Summary:
Patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exhibit a disordered breathing-swallowing pattern that may account for their higher risk of aspiration pneumonia, according to new research.

Patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exhibit a disordered breathing-swallowing pattern that may account for their higher risk of aspiration pneumonia, according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh.

Related Articles


In the first issue for April of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Roxann Diez Gross, Ph.D., and colleagues report that patients with moderate to severe COPD exhibit alterations between breathing and swallowing patterns even when they are not experiencing exacerbations.

While it was previously known that COPD patients exhibited decoupling of the breathing-swallowing pattern of saliva during exacerbations, until now there were no formal studies detailing to what extent, if any, disruptions in breathing and swallowing coordination occurred in COPD patients outside of exacerbations during normal eating.

The researchers examined the relationship between swallowing and timing of breathing in 25 patients with moderate to severe COPD and compared them with 25 healthy subjects. Each subject was asked to consume nine wafer cookies and ten teaspoons of pudding to determine whether there were differences in the handling of solid versus semi-solid food.

The researchers found that in patients with COPD, a pattern emerged that was strikingly different from that of healthy controls.

"In healthy subjects, the usual pattern is to time swallows to occur during early to mid exhalation. Healthy individuals also nearly exclusively follow each swallow with exhalation. This pattern assures that there is sufficient air pressure below the vocal folds during a swallow and prevents inhalation of food residue after swallowing," said Dr. Gross. "In contrast, in COPD patients, we saw that several aspects of their swallowing and breathing timing were disrupted such that swallows were occurring during inhalation or where followed by inhalation. COPD patients also swallowed more often at the end of exhalation at lower lung volumes."

The complicated physiology of the upper respiratory tract may be thrown out of balance by the respiratory burden imposed by COPD, explained Dr. Gross. "Because breathing and eating share the structures of the upper airway, precise coordination is needed to prevent food material from entering the airway while eating. In patients with COPD, the competition for the upper airway may cause the respiratory drive to override swallowing function and disrupt the normal patterning. The lungs of COPD patients have less elasticity than those of healthy individuals and this may also play a role swallowing safety."

Difficulty swallowing is often related to weakness and is associated with many neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease. The observed impaired breathing and swallowing patterns in the COPD patients suggest a possible explanation for the presence of swallowing disorders in persons that do not have neurological illness.

Dr. Gross also points out the immediate clinical implication of these findings: "Unrecognized aspiration can occur prior to or during COPD exacerbation and may contribute to the onset and severity of the exacerbations. Patients with COPD should have their swallowing function evaluated during hospitalizations and aspiration should be suspected when COPD exacerbations cannot be linked to viral infections or other factors," she said.

Further research is being conducted that examines the interactions between control of the respiratory cycle, lung elasticity and swallowing function. Currently, therapies that manipulate the respiratory system are being developed to improve swallowing function and safety.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "COPD-related Problems Hard To Swallow." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326084750.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2009, April 3). COPD-related Problems Hard To Swallow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326084750.htm
American Thoracic Society. "COPD-related Problems Hard To Swallow." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090326084750.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins