Laryngeal penetration: a predictor of aspiration in infants?

Pediatr Radiol. 1999 Oct;29(10):762-5. doi: 10.1007/s002470050690.


Background: We routinely observed "isolated" laryngeal penetration (ILP) on upper GI studies in infants with no risk for aspiration.

Objective: To determine whether "isolated" LP (LP during the pharyngeal phase of swallowing) is a benign process in infants and therefore not a predictor of aspiration as it is known to be in adults.

Patients and methods: Two radiologists retrospectively reviewed videotaped upper GI studies done over a 2-year period on patients less than 2 years of age. A total of 110 studies was reviewed, which produced a study group of 34 patients who had no history or clinical suspicion for swallowing dysfunction.

Results: Of the 34 patients in the group, 33 demonstrated ILP without radiographic or clinical evidence of aspiration.

Conclusion: ILP is a benign, normal process in infants likely due to immaturity of the swallowing mechanism. It is not a reliable predictor of aspiration as it is in adults.

MeSH terms

  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inhalation / physiology*
  • Larynx / diagnostic imaging*
  • Larynx / physiology
  • Male
  • Radiography