Which One of These Is Not Like the Others? An inter-hospital Study of the Viscosity of Thickened Fluids This investigation examined the rheological (viscosity and yield stress) and material property (density) characteristics of the thickened meal-time and videofluorscopy fluids provided by 10 major metropolitan hospitals. Differences in the thickness of thickened fluids were considered as a source of variability and potential hazard for inter-hospital transfers of dysphagic patients. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2000
Which One of These Is Not Like the Others? An inter-hospital Study of the Viscosity of Thickened Fluids
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie A. Y. Cichero
    Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia
  • Oliver Jackson
    Department of Chemical Engineering University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia
  • Peter J. Halley
    Department of Chemical Engineering University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia
  • Bruce E. Murdoch
    Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: B.Murdoch@mailbox.uq.edu.au
  • Contact author: Bruce Murdoch, PhD, Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia. Email: B.Murdoch@mailbox.uq.edu.au
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Healthcare Settings / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2000
Which One of These Is Not Like the Others? An inter-hospital Study of the Viscosity of Thickened Fluids
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2000, Vol. 43, 537-547. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4302.537
History: Received March 1, 1999 , Accepted August 11, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2000, Vol. 43, 537-547. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4302.537
History: Received March 1, 1999; Accepted August 11, 1999

This investigation examined the rheological (viscosity and yield stress) and material property (density) characteristics of the thickened meal-time and videofluorscopy fluids provided by 10 major metropolitan hospitals. Differences in the thickness of thickened fluids were considered as a source of variability and potential hazard for inter-hospital transfers of dysphagic patients. The results indicated considerable differences in the viscosity, density, and yield stress of both meal-time and videofluoroscopy fluids. In theory, the results suggest that dysphagic patients transferred between hospitals could be placed on inappropriate levels of fluid thickness because of inherent differences in the rheology and material property characteristics of the fluids provided by different hospitals. Slowed improvement or medical complications are potential worst-case scenarios for dysphagic patients if the difference between the thick fluids offered by 2 hospitals are extreme. The investigation outlines the most appropriate way to assess the rheological and material property characteristics of thickened fluids. In addition, it suggests a plan of quality improvement to reduce the variability of the thickness of fluids offered at different hospitals.

Acknowledgments
The authors wish to formally acknowledge Dr. Michael Mackay (former) and Dr. Peter Halley (new) Director, Material Characterisation and Processing Centre of the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Queensland. Funding for this project, provided by the University of Queensland Foundation, is gratefully acknowledged. The participation of the following hospitals is also gratefully acknowledged (note, order in which the names of the hospitals appear bears no relation to the order in which the hospitals are addressed in the text): Greenslopes Private Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Logan Hospital, Mater Adult Hospital, Mater Children’s Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital, and The Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.
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