Short-Term Effects of Cold Liquids on the Pharyngeal Swallow in Preterm Infants with Dysphagia: A Pilot Study
Cold stimulation reduces airway compromise in adults with dysphagia. However, there is no sufficient evidence to support its use in the pediatric population. The primary goal of this pilot study is to assess the effect of cold liquid on the pharyngeal swallow mechanism in preterm infants with dysphagia. We hypothesized that thermal stimulation from cold liquid will decrease the risk of airway compromise in dysphagic preterm infants. Nine preterm infants with clinical symptoms of dysphagia were included. Video fluoroscopic swallow studies were used to assess the swallowing mechanism of each participant. The occurrence of swallow dysfunctions under room temperature liquid swallows (RTS) vs. short period cold liquid swallows (CS) was compared. Paired t test was used to test significance. The occurrence of deep penetration (p = 0.007) and aspiration (p = 0.002) decreased significantly in the CS condition compared with the RTS condition. There was a trend of less nasopharyngeal reflux with CS but did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.084). No differences were noted for mild penetration (p = 0.824). CS reduced airway compromise in dysphagic preterm infants compared to RTS. These data provide important information regarding the immediate effects of CS on pharyngeal swallowing in preterm infants with dysphagia. However, further investigation regarding its sustained effects is required before introducing to clinical practice.
KeywordsDeglutition Deglutition disorders Thermal stimulation Neonate Dysphagia Infant Fluoroscopy
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