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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 405471, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Automated Detection and Evaluation of Swallowing Using a Combined EMG/Bioimpedance Measurement System

1Ear, Nose and Throat Unit, Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin, Warener Straße 7, 12683 Berlin, Germany
2Control Systems Group, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Received 16 January 2014; Revised 23 May 2014; Accepted 22 June 2014; Published 10 July 2014

Academic Editor: Hitoshi Kagaya

Copyright © 2014 Corinna Schultheiss et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Developing an automated diagnostic and therapeutic instrument for treating swallowing disorders requires procedures able to reliably detect and evaluate a swallow. We tested a two-stage detection procedure based on a combined electromyography/bioimpedance (EMBI) measurement system. EMBI is able to detect swallows and distinguish them from similar movements in healthy test subjects. Study Design. The study was planned and conducted as a case-control study (EA 1/019/10, and EA1/160/09, EA1/161/09). Method. The study looked at differences in swallowing parameters in general and in the event of penetration during swallows in healthy subjects and in patients with an oropharyngeal swallowing disorder. A two-stage automated swallow detection procedure which used electromyography (EMG) and bioimpedance (BI) to reliably detect swallows was developed. Results. Statistically significant differences between healthy subjects and patients with a swallowing disorder were found in swallowing parameters previously used to distinguish between swallowing and head movements. Our two-stage algorithm was able to reliably detect swallows (sensitivity = 96.1%, specificity = 97.1%) on the basis of these differences. Discussion. Using a two-stage detection procedure, the EMBI measurement procedure is able to detect and evaluate swallows automatically and reliably. The two procedures (EMBI + swallow detection) could in future form the basis for automated diagnosis and treatment (stimulation) of swallowing disorders.