J Korean Dysphagia Soc.  2012 Jul;2(2):67-72.

Comparison of the Thickeners Used in Dysphagia Treatment

  • 1Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea
  • 2Departments of Food and Nutrition Service, Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea


Because the likelihood of stroke, as well as of other diseases associated with dysphagia, increases with age, dysphagia is most common among the elderly. As dietary modification is a fundamental aspect of dysphagia management, diverse types of thickeners for modifying the consistency of foods and liquids widely are used. However, the standard of viscosity differs between manufacturing companies and the subjective feelings about the products are very different. In this study, we tried to find out the differences between the viscosities of each thickener according to the standard categories suggested by each company and official viscosity standards and surveyed the rates of satisfaction in sensory tests when the dysphagia diet mixed with different thickeners was administrated to the healthy volunteers and dysphagia patients. Method: First, we prepared the five kinds of powdered thickeners which were mixed separately in water according to manufacturer’s guide. The viscosities of them were measured using viscometer and compared to the dysphagia diet viscosity standard. Second, the dysphagia diet (water, sea mustard soup and plum juice) mixed with the different thickeners which were set to the second grade viscosity (100-300 cP) were administrated to four dysphagia patients and ten healthy participants and after tasting them, the sensory tests for taste, scent, degree of clinging were performed in blinded manners. Result: Degrees of viscosity suggested by each manufacturer were all over one degree more diluted than general standards. According to sensory tests, one of thickeners showed higher rates of satisfaction statistically compared to other thickeners in healthy participants, but the patients did not recognize the differences among them.
The viscosity criteria presented by each manufacturing company need to be modified. Among the five different types of thickeners, sensory tests showed the different rates of satisfaction in healthy participants.


Dysphagia; Treatment; Viscosity; Deglutition
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