Pediatric laryngeal cleft repair and dysphagia

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2018 Jan:104:216-219. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2017.11.017. Epub 2017 Nov 23.


Objective: To describe changes in diet and swallow function in patients with a laryngeal cleft after surgical repair of the laryngeal cleft.

Methods: Retrospective case series performed using chart review. Primary outcomes were diet and swallow function before and after laryngeal cleft repair. Clinical evaluation and video fluoroscopic swallow studies (VFSS) were used to assess pre- and post intervention swallowing.

Results: 16 pediatric patients were included in this study. Preoperatively, 14 (88%) patients had diet restrictions. Postoperatively, 12 (75%) patients tolerated a regular diet without limitation. 4 (25%) patients had no reduction in diet restrictions over the course of this study. For the 10 patients who transitioned to a regular diet postoperatively, a median of 300 days (range: 26 days - 3 years) passed to document achieving a regular diet. This was corroborated by an increase in normal oral and pharyngeal phase swallow function on VFSS postoperatively when compared with preoperative VFSS results.

Conclusion: Dysphagia improves in most patients after laryngeal cleft repair. The range in time to a normal diet was wide. This may facilitate improved preoperative counseling and preparation of families' expectations.

Keywords: Dysphagia; Laryngeal cleft; Swallow function; Video fluoroscopic swallow study.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Congenital Abnormalities / surgery*
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / surgery*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Larynx / abnormalities*
  • Larynx / surgery
  • Male
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies

Supplementary concepts

  • Laryngeal cleft