• Swallow apnea duration;
  • chemesthesis;
  • age;
  • genetic taste group;
  • swallowing;
  • Level of Evidence: 4



This study tested the hypotheses that swallowing apnea duration (SAD) will increase given barium versus water, chemesthetic stimuli (i.e., water < ethanol, acid, and carbonation) mixed with barium, age (older > younger), and genetic taste differences (supertasters > nontasters).

Study Design:

Prospective group design.


University Medical Center.


Eighty healthy women were identified as nontasters and supertasters, equally comprising two age groups: 18 to 35 years and 60+ years. The KayPentax Swallowing Signals Lab was used to acquire SAD via nasal cannula during individually randomized swallows of 5 mL barium, 2.7% w/v citric acid with barium, carbonation with barium, and 50:50 diluted ethanol with barium. Data were analyzed using path analysis, with the mediator of chemesthetic perception, adjusted for repeated measures.


Significant main effects of age (P = .012) and chemesthetic stimuli (P = .014) were found, as well as a significant interaction between chemesthetic stimuli and age (P = .028). Older women had a significantly longer SAD than younger women. Post hoc analyses revealed that barium mixed with ethanol elicited a significantly longer SAD than other bolus conditions, regardless of age group. There were no significant differences in SAD between barium and water conditions, and no significant effect of chemesthetic perception (P > .05).


Ethanol added to barium elicited longer SAD compared to plain barium, but not the other chemesthetic conditions. Older women had a longer SAD than younger women in all conditions. These findings may influence design of future studies examining effects of various stimuli on SAD.