The importance of physiology in the stages of deglutition – by Maria Concetta Pellicciari, Professor of Physiology at UniCamillus

Deglutition is a fundamental activity for the human being, representing the physiological basis of nutrition. It consists in the act of carrying food to the digestive tract, starting from the mouth, through the pharynx, along the esophagus, up to the stomach.

Specifically, deglutition represents the ability to carry solid, liquid, gaseous or mixed substances from the mouth to the stomach, and should be considered as a joint result of forces that push the bolus through the pharynx avoiding the respiratory tract.
The act of swallowing involves the coordination of complex physiological mechanisms both voluntary and involuntary, involving specific structures of the nervous system. It is, therefore, a complex and dynamic ability that evolves in relation to age so that, in fact, it is possible to differentiate the physiological mechanisms involved in neonatal / child deglutition, called pedophagy, compared to adult deglutition and finally in senile deglutition, called presbifagia.

A specific disorder can occur in one of the stages that characterize the act of swallowing and can lead to serious clinical consequences that require effective therapeutic management.

Only by knowing the physiology of the different stages of deglutition, the physiological mechanisms involved in them and their evolution over time from the fetal to the gerontological phase, is it possible to understand the pathophysiology of deglutition-related disorders, formulate an adequate diagnosis and define an effective rehabilitation treatment.

Maria Concetta Pellicciari is Professor of Physiology in the Degree Course in Medicine and Surgery and in the Online Master in Deglutology and Related Disorders at UniCamillus.

The first level online Master aims to train professionals in the field of dysphagia through a transversal and interdisciplinary educational offer.
The lessons are delivered in e-learning mode with the possibility of accessing the platform h24 and using, at any time, all the teaching material made available by the teaching staff.

For more information about the Master click HERE