Research Note  |   August 2013
Line Spread as a Visual Clinical Tool for Thickened Liquids
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Annelise Masters Lund
    Kansas State University, Manhattan
  • Jane Mertz Garcia
    Kansas State University, Manhattan
  • Edgar Chambers, IV
    Kansas State University, Manhattan
  • Correspondence to Jane Mertz Garcia: jgarcia@ksu.edu
  • Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer
    Editor: Carol Scheffner Hammer×
  • Associate Editor: Julie Liss
    Associate Editor: Julie Liss×
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Research Note
Research Note   |   August 2013
Line Spread as a Visual Clinical Tool for Thickened Liquids
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology August 2013, Vol.22, 566-571. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2013/12-0044)
History: Accepted 27 Jan 2013 , Received 01 Jun 2012 , Revised 10 Nov 2012
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology August 2013, Vol.22, 566-571. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2013/12-0044)
History: Accepted 27 Jan 2013 , Received 01 Jun 2012 , Revised 10 Nov 2012

Purpose: Preparing modified liquids to a target level of consistency is critical to patients' nutritional care. This study examined the relationship of line spread (i.e., the distance a liquid flows) to viscometer measurements for a variety of product/liquid combinations and determined if flow distance visually differentiated nectar-thick versus honey-like consistency.

Method: Combinations of 4 thickening products (3 starch-based and 1 gum-based thickener) prepared with 6 serving-temperature liquids that had various levels of fat, fiber, and added nutrients were tested. A total of 32 product/liquid combinations tested within the target range of 80–800 centipoise (cP). Measurements were recorded using line spread and a Brookfield RVDV-II+ viscometer.

Results: Nectar-thick and honey-like consistencies significantly differed in their degree of line spread. Using our line spread apparatus, a value of 4.5 cm differentiated between nectar-thick and honey-like consistencies. There was an inverse correlation (−.75) between viscometer data and line spread results. That is, high viscosity values represented samples with less flow distance (line spread), and low viscosity values represented samples with more flow distance.

Conclusion: Line spread appears to be a quick, objective, and visual method that might be used to help patients and their caregivers achieve more accurate and consistent thickened liquid preparation.

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