Relationships Among Rheological, Sensory Texture, and Swallowing Pressure Measurements of Hydrocolloid-Thickened Fluids

Z. Vickers, H. Damodhar, C. Grummer, H. Mendenhall, K. Banaszynski, R. Hartel, J. Hind, A. Joyce, A. Kaufman, J. Robbins

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31 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine the relationships among three categories of measurements (rheological, sensory texture, and swallowing pressure) from fluids thickened to two different viscosities with 15 different hydrocolloids. Fluids at viscosities of 300 and 1500 cP (at 30 s−1) were targeted because these are the viscosities corresponding to the barium standards used in radiographic dysphagia diagnosis. Within the low viscosity (nectar) fluids (300 cP), the sensory properties thickness, stickiness, adhesiveness, mouth coating, and number of swallows were highly positively correlated with each other and highly positively correlated with the flow behavior index, n value (an indicator of shear-thinning behavior). Within the higher viscosity (thin honey) fluids (1500 cP), the sensory textures of adhesiveness, stickiness, mouth coating, and number of swallows correlated positively with rheological measures of n value. Swallowing pressures measured in the anterior oral cavity correlated negatively with the consistency coefficient k [shear stress/(shear rate)n]. Samples that were more shear thinning (lower n values, higher k values) were generally perceived as less thick, with less adhesive properties (stickiness, adhesiveness, mouthcoating, and number of swallows). This information can be useful for selecting thickeners for people with dysphagia. A desirable thickener for many dysphagic patients would be one that allowed for a safe swallow by being viscous enough to reduce airway penetration, yet pleasant to drink, having the minimal perceived thickness and mouthcoating associated with greater shear thinning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-713
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by National Research Initiative Grant 12143 from the USDA Cooperative state Research, Education and Extension Service, and the Wm. S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). This manuscript was partially prepared at the William S. Middleton Veteran Affairs Hospital in Madison, WI; GRECC manuscript #2015-015. The views and content expressed in this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position, policy, or official views of the Department of Veteran Affairs or the U.S. government. This research was partly supported by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Flow behavior
  • Fluid rheology
  • Mouthcoating
  • Sensory evaluation
  • Swallowing pressure
  • Thickness


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