Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to discuss current knowledge and recent findings regarding clinical aspects of thickeners for pediatric gastroesophageal reflux and oropharyngeal dysphagia. We review evidence for thickener efficacy, discuss types of thickeners, practical considerations when using various thickeners, and risks and benefits of thickener use in pediatrics.
Recent findings: Thickeners are effective in decreasing regurgitation and improving swallowing mechanics and can often be used empirically for the treatment of infants and young children. Adverse effects have been reported, but with careful consideration of appropriate thickener types, desired thickening consistency, and follow-up in collaboration with feeding specialists, most patients have symptomatic improvements. Thickeners are typically well tolerated and with few side effects, but close follow-up is needed to make sure patients tolerate thickeners and have adequate symptom improvement.
Keywords: Aspiration; Gastroesophageal reflux disease; Oropharyngeal dysphagia; Pediatrics; Regurgitation; Thickening.