Drinking speed using a Pat Saunders valved straw, wide-bore straw and a narrow-bore straw in a normal adult population

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Abstract

Background:

Straw drinking is often recommended as a strategy for managing swallowing difficulties in adult clinical populations. This study presents a range of normal adult straw drinking speeds and discusses clinical applications.

Method:

Straw drinking speed in a normal healthy population of 70 adults from 18 to 95 years of age was measured. Three types of straws were used: a Pat Saunders valved straw (PSVS), a wide-bore straw and a narrow-bore straw (NBS). Participants drank 40 ml of water for each straw tested. All participants were asked to comment on the straws used. A mixed-method design was used wherein both quantitative and simple structured qualitative data were collected.

Results:

Drinking speed was quickest for the wide-bore straw, followed by the NBS and slowest for the PSVS. This was supported by qualitative comments from the adults who reported that the PSVS was the most difficult straw to use. There were no significant differences between straw flow or straw type and sex of the participants. There were significant changes with aging and a decrease in flow speed with the NBS. Weight and height had some effect on straw drinking speeds. There was a slight correlation between age and sex and age and height, but not between age and weight.

Conclusion:

This article presents data for a normal range of straw drinking speeds in a healthy adult population. It can be used in the assessment and monitoring of straw drinking in acquired disorders of swallowing.

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