Thickened liquids are a commonly used compensatory strategy for individuals with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Thickened liquids are often prescribed to promote swallow safety as they slow the flow of the bolus through the pharynx and allow for a greater length of time for the initiation of the pharyngeal swallow response. In many individuals with dysphagia, this period of prolonged pharyngeal transit prevents the bolus from entering the airway before the pharyngeal swallow response has been triggered, thereby eliminating penetration or aspiration of the liquid. A review of thickened liquids, including characteristics and clinical application, impact on swallow physiology, empirical evidence, and associated disadvantages will follow.

Characteristics and Clinical Application

Thickened liquids are categorized according to their rheological properties. That is, the viscosity and the flow of ...

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