Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The physical act of swallowing is a normal part of life for healthy individuals. Although intricate and complex in its orchestration, to most it is an effortless action. Multiple muscles contract and relax in patterns regulated and modulated by swallowing centers in the brainstem and cortex. Notwithstanding, when things go wrong, the consequences can be devastating, leading to dysphagia, aspiration and even death. This article describes the process of swallowing and the key anatomical and neurological structures involved in its execution. It also describes normal variants of the process of healthy swallowing. Finally it highlights potential problems that can occur along the complex swallowing pathway and describes some common causes of dysphagia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Gastroenterology
EditorsErnst Kuipers
PublisherElsevier BV
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128187289
ISBN (Print)9780128124604
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • bolus
  • dysphagia
  • esophagus
  • gastroenterology
  • motility
  • neurophysiology
  • oropharyngeal dysphagia
  • oropharynx
  • pharynx
  • swallowing
  • tongue


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