Evaluation of normal swallowing functions by using dynamic high-density surface electromyography maps

M. Zhu, B. Yu, W. Yang, Y. Jiang, L. Lu, Z. Huang, S. Chen, G. Li

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)
    195 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Swallowing is a continuous process with substantive interdependencies among different muscles, and it plays a significant role in our daily life. The aim of this study was to propose a novel technique based on high-density surface electromyography (HD sEMG) for the evaluation of normal swallowing functions. Methods: A total of 96 electrodes were placed on the front neck to acquire myoelectric signals from 12 healthy subjects while they were performing different swallowing tasks. HD sEMG energy maps were constructed based on the root mean square values to visualize muscular activities during swallowing. The effects of different volumes, viscosities, and head postures on the normal swallowing process were systemically investigated by using the energy maps. Results: The results showed that the HD sEMG energy maps could provide detailed spatial and temporal properties of the muscle electrical activity, and visualize the muscle contractions that closely related to the swallowing function. The energy maps also showed that the swallowing time and effort was also explicitly affected by the volume and viscosity of the bolus. The concentration of the muscular activities shifted to the opposite side when the subjects turned their head to either side. Conclusions: The proposed method could provide an alternative method to physiologically evaluate the dynamic characteristics of normal swallowing and had the advantage of providing a full picture of how different muscle activities cooperate in time and location. The findings from this study suggested that the HD sEMG technique might be a useful tool for fast screening and objective assessment of swallowing disorders or dysphagia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number133
    Number of pages18
    JournalBioMedical Engineering Online
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2017


    • Energy maps
    • High-density surface electromyography
    • Muscle contractions
    • Normal swallowing
    • Swallowing effort
    • Viscosity
    • Head
    • Deglutition/physiology
    • Humans
    • Electromyography/instrumentation
    • Male
    • Posture
    • Electrodes
    • Young Adult
    • Muscle Contraction
    • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
    • Adult
    • Female


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