Chief Complaints of Swallowing Problems in Korean Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Han Kyeol Kim, Ja Young Kim, Soomin Kim, Ga Young Kim, Nam Bin Cho, Seok In Nam, Heecheon You, Hyang Hee Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Normal older persons often experience presbyphagia due to aging. This study utilized the 18-item self-reported questionnaire of the Swallowing Monitoring & Assessment Protocol (SMAP) to identify swallowing difficulties that might appear during natural aging. Methods: After excluding those with neurological disorders, dysphagia-related disorders, and/or cognitive problems, a total of 822 healthy older adults aged 65 or older (mean age=76.88±5.60; men:women = 277:545) were surveyed by the self-reported swallowing function questionnaire of the SMAP. The total score of the 18-item questionnaire (5-point Likert scale: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4) was extracted and the ranking was determined based on the mean score of each item. Ranking among two age groups (aged 65–74 and aged 75 ≤) was compared with a Spearman rank correlation, and the difference in total scores by age group was examined with the Mann-Whitney test. Results: The mean total score was 7.81 ± 7.63 (range 0–58). Swallowing problems related to ‘dry mouth’, ‘meal volume’, ‘mealtime’, and ‘choking on water or liquid’ were regarded as chief complaints. There was a significant correlation between the ranking of questions by age group. The mean total score was significantly higher for groups aged 75 or older (n = 494; mean age=80.46±3.98) than those aged 65 to 74 (n = 328; mean age=71.49± 2.51) p < .01). Conclusion: The chief complaints for swallowing reported by older adults can be considered as main swallowing problems caused by aging. By identifying precise swallowing difficulties that appear during normal aging, we should be able to alleviate presbyphagia via early detection and intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-474
Number of pages12
JournalCommunication Sciences and Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National R&D Program through the National Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2020M3C1B6113680).

Funding Information:
We would like to express our special appreciation to the students in the Graduate Program of Speech-Language Pathology at Yonsei University, and Professors, Hyun-Joung Lee (former Yonsei U.), Hwa Young Pyo (Chosun U.), Jung Wan Kim (Daegu U.), Seong Hee Choi (Daegu Catholic U.), Hyunjoo Choi (Korea Nazarene U.) for their help with data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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