Oropharyngeal Dysphagia in children: mechanism, source, and management

Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2014 Oct;47(5):691-720. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2014.06.004.


Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OPD) is a challenging and relatively common condition in children. Both developmentally normal and delayed children may be affected. The etiology of OPD is frequently multifactorial with neurologic, inflammatory, and anatomic conditions contributing to discoordination of the pharyngeal phase of swallowing. Depending on the severity and source, OPD may persist for several years with significant burden to a patient's health and family. This article details current understanding of the mechanism and potential sources of OPD in children while providing an algorithm for managing it in the acute and chronic setting.

Keywords: Aspiration; Children; Dysphagia; Microaspiration; Oropharyngeal dysphagia; Pediatric dysphagia; Pharyngeal; Swallowing disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deglutition / physiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy*
  • Disease Management
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Pharynx / abnormalities
  • Pharynx / physiopathology
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Aspiration / prevention & control*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Treatment Outcome