Deglutition Apnea

Last Updated: March 10, 2017

Definition - What does Deglutition Apnea mean?

Deglutition apnea is the stoppage of breathing during swallowing. This is a natural mechanism of the body to prevent food and fluids from finding its way into the airways and, thereafter, entering the lungs.

WorkplaceTesting explains Deglutition Apnea

Delgutition apnea is an important involuntary reaction that prevents the inhalation of food or fluids during eating and drinking. The supralaryngeal nerve coordinates inhalation and exhalation with swallowing and the motion of the pharynx to prevent accidental entry of food in the airways and lungs.

The pharynx of patients affected by breathlessness in sleep and that of elderly patients suffering from dementia or stroke may not close during swallowing. This can cause food to enter their respiratory passages.

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