Objective: The aims of this study were to evaluate the prevalence and the clinical predictors of dysphagia and to determine the characteristics of videofluoroscopic swallowing study findings in infants after open heart procedures.
Design: This study is a retrospective review of 146 infants who underwent open heart surgery. The infants with dysphagia were compared with those without dysphagia. The videofluoroscopic swallowing study findings of the infants with dysphagia were also evaluated.
Results: Of the 146 infants who underwent open heart surgery, 35 (24.0%) had dysphagia symptoms. The infants with dysphagia had lower body weight at operation, more malformation syndromes, longer operation times, and more complex operations than did the infants without dysphagia. In addition, the infants with dysphagia required more time to achieve full oral feeding and had longer hospital stays. Thirty-three infants underwent videofluoroscopic swallowing study: 32 (97.0%) exhibited at least one abnormal finding among the videofluoroscopic swallowing study parameters and 21 (63.6%) exhibited tracheal aspiration.
Conclusions: Given the high rate of aspiration in the infants who underwent open heart procedures, monitoring and prompt recognition of the signs and the risk factors of dysphagia may substantially improve infant care with oral feeding and reduce the duration of hospital stays.