Rheology Modifiers for the Management of Dysphagia

  • Graham SwornEmail author
Part of the Soft and Biological Matter book series (SOBIMA)


Dysphagia is the medical term used to describe swallowing problems resulting from a disorder in the mechanics of swallowing which can lead to impairment in the safety, efficiency or quality of eating and drinking. Dysphagia can be caused by many disorders including neurological disorders, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy. Many of these conditions are associated with the elderly and, with the continuing demographic shift, dysphagia is a growing problem.

The rheological properties of the bolus significantly influence the effectiveness and safety of the swallowing process, and the use of hydrocolloids to control the rheology can greatly help in the management of dysphagia. To be an effective thickener for this application, the following properties are important:
  • Easy dispersion at low mixing speeds

  • Fast hydration (cold and hot)

  • Fast hydration in different media (water, tea, coffee, fruit juices)

  • Stable viscosity as a function of:
    • Time

    • Temperature

Creating instant viscosity under suboptimal mixing conditions and choosing the right rheological properties pose a number of challenges for the use of hydrocolloids in this application, and the factors influencing their choice and performance will be reviewed.


Dysphagia Swallowing Hydrocolloids Xanthan Viscosity Rheology 



I thank my colleague Professor Niall Young for helpful discussions and critically reviewing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DuPontParisFrance

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