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Feasibility Study for Swallowing Prediction Using Pressure Sensors

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M Cho

M Cho1*, S Kim2 , T Kim1 , D Kim1 , S Kang1 , K Kim1 , D Shin1 , Y Noh1 , T Suh1 , (1) The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Research Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Seoul, Korea, (2) Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA,


SU-D-BRA-1 (Sunday, July 31, 2016) 2:05 PM - 3:00 PM Room: Ballroom A

To develop a swallowing prediction system (SPS) using force sensing sensors and evaluate its feasibility.

The SPS developed consists of force sensing sensor units, a thermoplastic mask, a signal transport device and a control PC installed with an in-house software. The SPS is designed to predict the pharyngeal stage of swallowing because it is known that internal organ movement occurs in pharyngeal stage. To detect prediction signal in the SPS, the force sensing sensor units were attached on both the submental muscle region and thyroid cartilage region of the thermoplastic mask. While the signal from the thyroid cartilage region informs the action of swallowing, the signal from the submental muscle region is utilized as a precursor for swallowing. Since the duration of swallowing is relatively short, using such precursor (or warning) signals for machine control is considered more beneficial. A volunteer study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of the system. In this volunteer study, we intended to verify that the system could predict the pharyngeal stage of the swallowing. We measured time gaps between obtaining the warning signals in the SPS and starting points of the pharyngeal stage of swallowing.

The measured data was examined whether the time gaps were in reasonable order to be easily utilized. The mean and standard deviation values of these time gaps were 0.550 s ± 0.183 s. in 8 volunteers.

The proposed method was able to predict the on-set of swallowing of human subjects inside the thermoplastic mask, which has never been possible with other monitoring systems such as camera-based monitoring system. With the prediction ability of swallowing incorporated into the machine control mechanism (in the future), beam delivery can be controlled to skip swallowing periods and significant dosimetric gain is expected in head & neck cancer treatments.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: This work was supported by the Radiation Technology R&D program (No. 2015M2A2A7038291) and by the Mid-career Researcher Program (2014R1A2A1A10050270) through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT&Future Planning.

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