Research: Epidemiology of swallow dysfunction in CDH patients

Am J Surg

. 2021 Mar 17;S0002-9610(21)00150-1. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2021.03.015. Online ahead of print.

Epidemiology of swallow dysfunction in CDH patients

Akila B Ramaraj 1Carrie Foster 2Rebecca A Stark 2Affiliations expand

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Purpose: There is a growing body of literature regarding long-term pulmonary outcomes in children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). Oral feeding skills in these children are often delayed. Chronic descending aspiration due to uncoordinated swallowing can further insult the already compromised lung parenchyma in these children. This study describes patterns of swallowing dysfunction and aspiration in patients with CDH.

Methods: Records of all children treated for CDH at our institution from January 2014 to December 2019 were reviewed. Concern for swallowing dysfunction was marked by performance of a video-fluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS). We determined the frequency of aspiration on VFSS and how frequently that finding changed patient management. We also evaluated for association between clinical suspicion of swallow dysfunction and descriptors of CDH severity.

Results: Sixty-nine patients were treated during this 6-year time period. Of those, 10 (14%) had a VFSS as an inpatient, and 25 (36%) had one as an outpatient. Eight (80%) inpatient and 17 (68%) outpatient studies identified aspiration. VFSS results changed management in 80% of patients, often by altering the consistency of oral feeds. There were no associations between CDH side, defect size or need for a patch and need for a VFSS.

Conclusions: The frequency of aspiration in the CDH population is high. Identification of aspiration on VFSS leads to changes in treatment aimed at protecting the lungs. Additionally, the severity of the CDH was not associated with aspiration on VFSS.

Keywords: CDH; Nutrition; Swallowing; Video swallow study.

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