impaired swallowing

Also found in: Dictionary, Encyclopedia.
Related to impaired swallowing: dysphagia


the taking in of a substance through the mouth and pharynx and into the esophagus. It is a combination of a voluntary act and a series of reflex actions. Once begun, the process operates automatically. Called also deglutition.

The Three Stages of Swallowing. In the first, voluntary, stage of swallowing, the cheeks are sucked in slightly and the tongue is arched against the hard palate, so that the bolus, or ball of chewed food, is moved to the pharynx.

Normally, air is free to pass from the nose or mouth to the lungs and back again. But the moment the bolus approaches the fauces, the passage from the mouth to the pharynx, nerve centers are triggered that control a series of reflex actions. After one quick inhalation, breathing is halted for the brief instant of the next stage.

In this second, involuntary, stage of swallowing, the rear edge of the soft palate, which hangs down from the roof of the mouth, swings up against the back of the pharynx and blocks the passages to the nose. The back of the tongue fits tightly into the space between two muscular pillars at each side of the fauces, sealing the way back to the mouth. Simultaneously, the larynx moves upward against the epiglottis, effectively closing the entrance to the trachea.

Sometimes the larynx does not move up quickly enough and food gets into the air passage, stimulating a coughing reaction. With the one-way route to the stomach firmly established, however, the muscular coat of the pharynx contracts, squeezing the ball of food and forcing its passage into the esophagus.

In the third stage, the rhythmic contraction (peristalsis) of the muscles of the esophagus moves the food on to the stomach. The cardiac sphincter keeps the stomach entrance closed until food is swallowed. As the food approaches, moved by the wavelike contractions of the esophagus, the advancing portion of the wave causes the sphincter to relax and open, while the rear and contracting portion forces the ball of food through the entrance.
impaired swallowing a nursing diagnosis accepted by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, defined as a state in which an individual has decreased ability to voluntarily pass fluids or solids from the mouth to the stomach.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

impaired swallowing

Abnormal functioning of the swallowing mechanism associated with deficits in oral, pharyngeal, or esophageal structure or function.
See also: swallowing
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
Baseline Follow-up Hypomimia 37.3 91.6 Affected speech 14.1 65.5 Drooling 11.7 55.3 Impaired swallowing 10.2 34.5 Note: Table made from bar graph.
Mortality rates differed significantly by housing condition, depressed level of consciousness on admission, impaired swallowing at discharge, disability category at discharge, discharge mBI and discharge mRS (Table II).
(11) Patients with schizophrenia may exhibit impaired swallowing mechanism, irrespective of psychotropic medications.
Impaired swallowing (schizophrenia patients are at greater risk)
A recent cost analysis of dysphagia patients indicates that, in cases of impaired swallowing, barium swallow is more economical than upper GI endoscopy (EGD).
According to a recent cost analysis, cases of dysphagia with impaired swallowing are more economically assessed using -- than --.
Although dysphagia (impaired swallowing) evaluations are now being performed more often, during our study we found that while 45 of 82 residents (55%) had some degree of dysphagia, only 10 of these 45 (22%) had been referred to a speech pathologist for an evaluation.
Using a standardized swallowing assessment, it was found that 30% of conscious patients had impaired swallowing on the first day after a stroke.
(4) In our patient, poor reflux management (dietary and behavioral), the use of daily aspirin, and an impaired swallowing function all contributed to his alendronate-related laryngeal hemoptysis.
The term dysphagia relates to impaired swallowing which may be caused by neurological impairment of airway closure or oesophageal relaxation.