Suitable Food Textures for Videofluoroscopic Studies of Swallowing in Esophageal Cancer Cases to Prevent Aspiration Pneumonia


Department of Nutritional Management, Shigei Medical Research Hospital, Okayama, Okayama prefecture, Japan Email :


Aims: To determine suitable food textures for videofluoroscopic study of swallowing (VFSS), in order to predict and prevent subsequent aspiration pneumonia in esophageal cancer patients with dysphagia after surgery. Materials and Methods: We evaluated 45 hospitalized esophageal cancer patients who underwent surgery between January 2012 and December 2013. The control group consisted of 43 patients treatmed from January 2010 until December 2011 and were not examined by VFSS. Test foods, which were presented in order of increasing thickness, included thin barium sulfate (Ba) liquid (3 or 10 ml), slightly thickened Ba liquid (3 or 10 ml), a spoonful of Ba jelly, and a spoonful of Ba puree. Results: Patients could most safely swallow puree, followed by jelly. The 3mL samples of both the thin and thick liquids put patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia, with incidence rates of 13% and 11%, respectively. While 64.4% of patients could swallow all test foods and liquids safely, 35.6% were at risk for aspiration pneumonia when swallowing liquids. Even though >30% of patients were at risk, only 1 (2.2%) in the VFSS group developed aspiration pneumonia, which occurred at the time of admission. Following VFSS, no incidence of aspiration pneumonia was observed. However, aspiration pneumonia occurred in 4 (9.3%) control patients during hospitalization. Conclusions: Postoperative esophageal cancer patients were more likely to aspirate any kind of liquid than solid foods, such as jellies. VFSS is very useful in determining suitable food textures for postoperative esophageal cancer patients.