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Current approaches to instrumental assessment of swallowing in children

Dharmarathna, Isurua; Miles, Annaa; Allen, Jacqui E.b,c

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: December 2018 - Volume 26 - Issue 6 - p 349–355
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000492

Purpose of the review This article reviews recent developments in the instrumental assessment of swallowing in children with a specific focus on research published between January 2017 and June 2018.

Recent findings Instrumental swallowing assessments reported in the time period included: videofluoroscopic study of swallowing, digital cervical auscultation, dynamic ultrasound, high-resolution impedance manometry, nasal airflow thermistry and respiratory inductance plethysmography. Several studies were found exploring tools to objectively quantify videofluoroscopic study of swallowing data; swallowing from the mouth through to stomach was addressed including approaches to analysing mastication as well as evaluating oesophageal motility disorders.

Summary Even though a vast range of instrumentation were studied, lack of clarity on clinical feasibility and objective measures that facilitate medical decision-making in practice mean further research is required to provide guidance on implementation. Promising novel approaches to aid the quantification of swallowing physiology from the mouth, pharynx and through to the oesophagus are emerging.

aSpeech Science

bDepartment of Surgery, The University of Auckland

cWaitemata District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand

Correspondence to Isuru Dharmarathna, BSc, Speech Science, School of Psychology, Tamaki Campus, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. Tel: +64 9 923 8177; fax: +64 9 373 7902; e-mail:

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