Aspiration in the otherwise healthy Infant-Is there a natural course for improvement?

TitleAspiration in the otherwise healthy Infant-Is there a natural course for improvement?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCasazza GC, M Graham E, Asfour F, O'Gorman M, Skirko J, Meier JD
Date Published2020 02
KeywordsDeglutition Disorders, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Male, Respiratory Aspiration, Retrospective Studies

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Timing and indication for surgical intervention is a major challenge in managing pediatric oropharyngeal dysphagia. No study has evaluated a natural course of swallowing dysfunction in otherwise healthy infants. Our objective was to review the outcomes and time to resolution of abnormal swallow in infants with aspiration.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective case series at a tertiary children's hospital.

METHODS: Fifty patients under 1 year old with aspiration on a modified barium swallow study were included. Patients born <34 weeks, with medical or genetic comorbidities, or who underwent surgical intervention for aspiration were excluded. Patients were followed until aspiration resolved on a swallow study. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was performed.

RESULTS: Forty patients (25 patients [50%] by 6 months, 10 [20%] by 1 year, three [6%] by 2 years, and two [4%] at the end of the follow-up interval) were recommended a normal diet, and 10 patients (20%) were still aspirating by the end of the follow-up interval. Median time to resolution was 202 ± 7 days (range, 19-842 days), probability 48% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.34-0.62). The probability of resolution at 6 months was 46% (95% CI: 0.4-0.68), at 1 year was 64% (95% CI: 0.51-0.77), at 2 years was 76% (95% CI: 0.64-0.88), and at the end of the follow-up interval 81.3% (95% CI: 0.7-0.92).

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of infants with aspiration and without any other major comorbidities improved within 1 year. Future research should be directed toward better understanding swallowing dysfunction in neurologically normal infants.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4 Laryngoscope, 130:514-520, 2020.

Alternate JournalLaryngoscope
PubMed ID30835858
Faculty Reference: 
Jonathan Skirko, MD, MHPA, MPH