The viscosity of nonsolid foods and the stability of their viscosity over time is critical in managing dysphagia. The time-dependent viscosity of liquids thickened with starch-based thickeners was measured at constant temperature and shear rate. Viscosity was measured between 30-min intervals of rest (zero shear) over a period of 17 h at 20.0°C. Two common types of thickeners were evaluated: maize-based and maltodextrin-based (the latter commonly used in pediatrics). The maize-based thickeners undergo a significant decrease in viscosity over the initial 1–4 h following preparation. The maltodextrin-based thickener’s viscosity increases significantly 30 min following preparation and is then more stable over time than its maize-based equivalent. These findings suggest that the success of current dysphagia therapies that use thickeners could be influenced by the time-dependent nature of thickened fluid viscosity. Acknowledgment and appropriate selection of the thickener type is shown to be of great importance.
This research has recently been accepted in a leading journal that would normally be outside the engineering sphere of interest and thus demonstrates the breadth of influence for this type of research. There is currently a debate in the dysphagia (swallowing therapy) community as to whether the viscosity of fluids used in therapy is of concern. This research indicates penetration by engineering research into the enormously challenging field of inclusive technologies for the ageing population, in collaboration with the Morecambe Bay NHS PCT. (contact: Claire.Philpott@mbpct.nhs.uk) RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : General Engineering