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Laryngoscope. 2018 Nov 8. doi: 10.1002/lary.27410. [Epub ahead of print]

Aspiration in children with unilateral vocal fold paralysis.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
2
Department of Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS:

To describe the prevalence of aspiration in children with unilateral vocal fold paralysis who underwent objective assessment of swallow function.

STUDY DESIGN:

Retrospective chart review.

METHODS:

A study of patients presenting to our institution with unilateral vocal fold paralysis in 2015 was conducted. All patients were diagnosed using flexible laryngoscopy. Patients were included if they underwent at least one modified barium swallow (MBS) study for evaluation of their swallowing function due to recurrent respiratory issues and/or feeding difficulty.

RESULTS:

Twenty-eight patients diagnosed with unilateral vocal fold paralysis underwent an MBS study at our institution in 2015. Median age at the time of MBS study was 1.7 years (interquartile range: 0.4-4.3). Twenty-six patients (92.9%) had dysphagia. Sixteen patients were found to aspirate on MBS study. All patients who aspirated did so without overt signs (silent aspiration). Eighteen patients had congenital heart disease (64.3%) and nine had a history of prematurity (32.1%). Eight patients (28.6%) presented with developmental delays.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients who present with unilateral vocal fold paralysis and recurrent respiratory and/or feeding issues may be affected by prominent issues such as swallowing dysfunction and silent aspiration. Clinicians should be aware of this risk and evaluate patients for any signs of feeding or swallowing difficulties.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

4 Laryngoscope, 2018.

KEYWORDS:

Vocal fold paralysis; aspiration; pediatrics

PMID:
30408186
DOI:
10.1002/lary.27410

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