Decreased tongue pressure reflects symptom of dysphagia

Mitsuyoshi Yoshida, Takeshi Kikutani, Kazuhiro Tsuga, Yuri Utanohara, Ryo Hayashi, Yasumasa Akagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (Scopus)


The tongue plays a key role in oropharyngeal swallowing. It has been reported that maximum isometric tongue pressure decreases with age. The risk for dysphagia resulting from low tongue strength remains unclear. This study was designed to reveal the relationship between tongue pressure and clinical signs of dysphagic tongue movement and cough and to demonstrate the clinical value of tongue pressure measurement in the evaluation of swallowing function. One hundred forty-five institutionalized elderly in five nursing homes participated. Evaluation of physical activity with self-standing up capability and mental condition with Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE) were recorded. Maximum tongue pressure was determined using a newly developed tongue pressure measurement device. Voluntary tongue movement and signs of dysphagic cough at mealtime were inspected and evaluated by one clinically experienced dentist and speech therapist. The relationship between level of tongue pressure and incidence of cough was evaluated using logistic regression analysis with physical and mental conditions as covariates. Tongue pressure as measured by the newly developed device was significantly related to the voluntary tongue movement and incidence of cough (p < 0.05). The results of this study suggest that tongue pressure measurement reflects clinical signs of dysphagic tongue movement and cough and that measurement of tongue pressure is useful for the bedside evaluation of swallowing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-65
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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