Effect of Swallowing Rehabilitation Protocol on Swallowing Function in Patients with Esophageal Atresia and/or Tracheoesophageal Fistula

Eur J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Dec;27(6):526-532. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1599231. Epub 2017 Mar 17.


Aim The aim of this study was to evaluate the results of Swallowing Rehabilitation Protocol (SRP) on swallowing function (SF) of esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula (EA-TEF) patients with pharyngeal swallowing disorder. Materials and Methods In this study, 24 children with EA-TEF who had deglutitive and respiratory problems were grouped into either study (n = 12) or control group (n = 12) by basic randomization. Study group received the SRP including neuromuscular electrical stimulation, thermal tactile stimulation, and hyolaryngeal mobilization. The control group received nonnutritive stimulations. SF was evaluated with 3 mL liquid and pudding barium by videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS) before and after 20 sessions of interventions. Results No statistical differences were found between groups in terms of descriptive characteristics including age, sex, weight, height, type of atresia, repair type, repair time, and start time of oral intake (p > 0.05). There were no statistical differences between groups in term of swallowing parameters (p > 0.05), except reflux (p = 0.004) according to VFSS findings. After 20 sessions of interventions, the study group showed improvement in penetration-aspiration scale scores, oral phase dysfunction, delay in swallowing reflex, and residue in valleculae and pyriform sinuses after pudding swallow. The control group showed improvement only in oral phase dysfunction. Conclusion SRP can be recommended to improve SF in patients with EA/TEF who have pharyngeal swallowing disorders.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Deglutition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Esophageal Atresia / complications
  • Esophageal Atresia / physiopathology
  • Esophageal Atresia / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / complications
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / physiopathology
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome

Supplementary concepts

  • Esophageal atresia with or without tracheoesophageal fistula