This study aimed to (1) evaluate changes in bolus and air volumes in the pharyngo-laryngeal cavity during swallowing and (2) determine how differences in these volumes during swallowing are influenced by bolus amount using 320-row area detector computed tomography (320-ADCT). Three-, 10-, and 20-ml honey-thick liquids (5% w/v) were presented to ten healthy subjects placed in a 45° reclining position. 3D images were created in 29 phases at an interval of 0.1 s for 3.15 s. Changes in bolus and air volumes in the pharyngo-laryngeal cavity were calculated. The two one-sided tests were used to determine equivalency of the pharyngo-laryngeal volume of each event (i.e., onset of hyoid elevation, soft palate closure, true vocal cord closure, closure of laryngeal vestibule, epiglottis inversion, pharyngo-esophageal sphincter opening) for each bolus volume. The pharyngo-laryngeal volume during swallowing was about 20 ml before swallowing. The volume temporarily increased with tongue loading, but decreased to about 0 ml with pharyngeal contraction. Subsequently, the volume returned to the original volume after airway opening. Most of the air was released from the pharyngo-laryngeal space before the bolus flowed into the esophagus during swallowing. As the bolus volume to be swallowed increased, the maximal pharyngo-laryngeal volume increased, but changes in air volume remained constant. 320-ADCT allowed for analysis of dynamic volume changes in the pharyngo-laryngeal cavity, which will increase our knowledge of kinematic and volumetric mechanisms during swallowing.
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