Physical properties of thickened fluids used in dysphagia management

Sopade, P. A., Halley, P. J., Cichero, J. A. Y., Ward, L. C. and Sharpe, K. (2006). Physical properties of thickened fluids used in dysphagia management. In: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition :. Nutrition Society of Australia conference, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (S137-S137). 29 November - 2 December, 2006.

Author Sopade, P. A.
Halley, P. J.
Cichero, J. A. Y.
Ward, L. C.
Sharpe, K.
Title of paper Physical properties of thickened fluids used in dysphagia management
Conference name Nutrition Society of Australia conference
Conference location Sydney, NSW, Australia
Conference dates 29 November - 2 December, 2006
Proceedings title Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition :   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Clayton, Vic, Australia
Publisher Blackwell Science Asia
Publication Year 2006
Sub-type Poster
ISSN 0964-7058
Volume 15
Issue Supp. 3
Start page S137
End page S137
Total pages 1
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Background –
Dysphagia (swallowing disorders) affects 30-60% of nursing home residents giving rise to serious
health issues, amongst which is dehydration is the most important affecting up to 25% of non-ambulatory residents.
Thickened fluids are used to manage dysphagia but their efficacy is modified by the particular thickening agent, the
liquid medium being thickened and lack of standardised preparation to achieve a given density and viscosity.

Objective –

To determine the rheological properties of fluids (fruit juices, cordials and milk) thickened with
commercially available thickening agents.

Design –

Laboratory based measurement of density and viscosity of thickened fluids at 20°C using a strain
controlled rheometer. Yield stress was extrapolated from rheology data.


The density, yield stress and viscosity of the thickened fluids were significantly influenced (P < 0.05)
by the type of dispersing liquid and thickener (xanthan or guar gums and modified starch). Rheological models,
determined for each medium, were used to predict the viscosity at an assumed shear rate of 50s-1 for swallowing.
Physical properties of thickened food are sensitive to changes in solids content, and errors in preparations can be
better minimised using weights rather than volumes from scoops and spoons that are not standardised.


The rheological models defined in this study can be used as the basis of a standardised method of
preparation of thickened fluids. Reduced compliance with fluid intake due to incorrect fluid preparation affects
hydration state. Elderly persons may then suffer poor nutrition, dwindling health and medical complications
associated with failure to thrive.
Subjects 090802 Food Engineering
111104 Public Nutrition Intervention
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown
Additional Notes Poster 68

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