Thesis Title

Comparative Measures of Viscosity of Thickening Agents

Date of Graduation

Spring 2004


Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Lynette Goldberg


Disordered swallowing (dysphagia) profoundly influences one's constitution, with significant consequences of morbidity and mortality from malnutrition, dehydration, and respiratory tract complications. In order to help those with dysphagia, a specific diet consisting of "regulated" thicknesses is often prescribed. Independent studies use a plethora of terms for diet textures, and directions on commercial thickener products allow broad deviations in the amount of product used to achieve a particular consistency. This study compared two objective measurements of the viscosity of thickened liquids used in the treatment of persons with dysphagia. Six commercially available thickening agents were tested. Manufacturers' directions were followed to thicken bottled water to a nectar-like consistency. Twenty samples of each agent were measured using both methodologies. Results indicated that line-spread testing is a valid measure of viscosity that can be used if viscometer measurement is not available. Test-retest reliability was high for three of the six thickening agents studied.


dysphagia, viscosity, line-spread test, viscometer measurement, thickening agents

Subject Categories

Communication Sciences and Disorders


© Ronda K. Smith