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Advances in the evaluation and management of pediatric dysphagia

Miller, Claire Kanea; Willging, Jay Paulb

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: December 2003 - Volume 11 - Issue 6 - p 442-446
Pediatric otolaryngology

Purpose of review Feeding and swallowing problems in the pediatric population, commonly referred to as pediatric dysphagia, are often complex. Multiple disciplines are frequently involved in both the evaluation and the management of symptoms exhibited by an increasing number of infants and children. The efficacy of commonly employed diagnostic and treatment strategies has been largely unexplored, although there has been a steadily increasing amount of research specific to pediatric dysphagia. Recent research efforts are reviewed which contribute data necessary for development of evidence-based evaluation and management methods.

Recent findings Research contributions over the past year have included continued work in the classification and categorization of the widely varied causes of pediatric dysphagia. Research efforts have also focused on objective data of swallowing mechanics by use of diagnostic tools such as videofluoroscopy, endoscopy, and electromyography. Recent advances in approaches to the management of pediatric dysphagia symptoms secondary to achalasia and eosinophilic esophagitis are discussed.

Summary Research that contributes to the base of knowledge regarding diagnosis and treatment of pediatric dysphagia has been consistently accumulating in recent years, yet much work remains to be done. Continued research studies, both retrospective and prospective in nature, are clearly needed to continue to build evidence-based evaluation and treatment protocols for pediatric dysphagia.

Departments of aSpeech Pathology and bOtolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Correspondence to Claire Kane Miller, MS, Department of Speech Pathology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Pavilion Building 4-22, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA

Tel: 513-636-8409; fax: 513-636-3965; e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.