Location of the upper oesophageal sphincter during swallowing: Analysis using swallowing CT

Minxing Gao, Yoko Inamoto, Eiichi Saito, Keiko Aihara, Seiko Shibata, Marlis Gonzalez-Fernandez, Yohei Otaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Upper oesophageal sphincter (UES) serves as an important anatomical and functional landmark during swallowing. However, the precise UES location before and during swallowing has not been well established. Objective: This study aimed to determine upper oesophageal sphincter (UES) location and displacement during swallowing accounting for sex, age, and height in healthy adults using 320-row area detector computed tomography (320-ADCT). Methods: Ninety-four healthy adults (43 males; 22–90 years) underwent 320-ADCT scanning while swallowing one trial of 10 mL honey thick barium. UES location at bolus hold and at maximum displacement and vertical displacement during swallowing were identified using the coordinates and the section classification of vertebrae (VERT scale). The differences and correlations of UES location and distance in terms of sex, age, and height were analysed using Mann–Whitney U test and Spearman's correlation coefficient. Results: UES locations at bolus hold and at maximum displacement were significantly lower and UES vertical displacement was significantly larger in males than in females (p <.001). UES location at bolus hold became lower with increasing age (r = −.312, p =.002), but the negative correlation was low at maximum displacement (r = −.230, p =.026), resulting in larger vertical distance with ageing. UES locations showed high negative correlation at bolus hold with height (r = −.715, p <.001), and showed moderate negative correlation at maximum displacement with height (r = −.555, p <.001), although this effect was unclear when analysed by sex. Conclusion: Males showed lower UES location and larger displacement than females. The impact of age was evident with lower location before swallowing and larger displacement during swallowing. Differences observed by sex were not completely explained by using the VERT scale to adjust for height.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1193-1201
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Oral Rehabilitation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 07-2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Dentistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Location of the upper oesophageal sphincter during swallowing: Analysis using swallowing CT'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this