Videofluoroscopic Swallow Studies and Diagnostic Outcomes in Otherwise Healthy Infants With Dysphagia

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2022 Aug;131(8):892-896. doi: 10.1177/00034894211047786. Epub 2021 Sep 23.


Objectives: To evaluate videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) findings in infants with dysphagia and without prior diagnoses, and to characterize the outcomes and any diagnoses that follow.

Methods: A chart review of all pediatric patients who received a VFSS at a tertiary children's hospital from November 2008 to March 2017 was performed.

Results: There were 106 infants (57 males and 49 females) with 108 VFSS. VFSS was normal in 18 (16.98%) infants. Regarding airway protection, 50 (47.17%) infants had laryngeal penetration, and 8 (7.55%) had tracheal aspiration; 3 (2.83%, 37.5% of all aspirators) exhibited silent aspiration. Of the 75 infants with minimum 2-year follow-up, 35 (46.67%) had no sequelae of disease and received no diagnoses. The most common diagnoses and pathologic sequelae were gastroesophageal reflux (n = 18, 24.00%), asthma (n = 8, 10.67%), laryngomalacia (n = 6, 8.00%), and tracheomalacia (n = 4, 5.33%), all consistent with United States pediatric data on prevalence. All infants (n = 51) with follow-up for dysphagia had resolution of symptoms within 9 months from VFSS order date.

Conclusions: Otherwise healthy infants may show signs of dysphagia and not develop later illness. Parents can thus be counseled on the implications of dysphagia in a previously healthy infant. Our findings provide comparative statistics for future research in pediatric dysphagia.

Keywords: aspiration; dysphagia; laryngeal penetration; modified barium swallow study; videofluoroscopic swallow study.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition Disorders* / diagnostic imaging
  • Deglutition Disorders* / etiology
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Larynx*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies