While problem-solving a recent NICU infant I was following with a tracheotomy, I incorporated this information from a study done through Nemours Childrens Hospital in DE. It was presented as a poster session at the ASHA convention, and has not been published to my knowledge. The study was well-done, the findings are informative and can help guide our care of infants in the NICU who require tracheostomy. Contact the authors for more information. I am quoting below from the poster presented.
Videofluoroscopic swallow-study outcomes among infants with tracheotomies Jeannine Hoch, MA, CCC-SLP; Michele Morrow, MS, CCC-SLP; Heather Keskeny, MA, CCC-SLP; Aaron Chidekel, MD
Due to advances in technology, tracheotomy tube-placement is becoming increasingly common during the first year of life.
Infants with tracheotomy are at risk for developing feeding and swallowing problems: There is a paucity of descriptive information regarding dysphagia for infants following tracheotomy. Lack of available research leaves many clinicians feeling unprepared to provide services for pediatric tracheotomy patients.
Infant feeding patterns may also be impacted by environmental and associated medical conditions such as: Gastroesophageal reflux, Low birth-weight, Bronchopulmonary dysplasia, Long-term nasogastric tube-feedings, disruption of parent–infant interaction due to long-term hospitalization
Goals of their study:
- Based on reports from videofluoroscopic swallowing studies, what are the swallow characteristics of infants with tracheotomies?
- What percentage of patients required enteral feedings via nasogastric and/or gastrostomy tube-feedings?
- Are trends present between swallow dysfunction, underlying medical conditions (gastroesophageal reflux, premature birth, nature of illness necessitating tracheotomy tube placement), and the need for enteral feedings?
A Retrospective study
- Subjects (n = 27) whose Tracheotomy-tube placement by 4 months of age with mechanical ventilation – Males (n = 16), Females (n = 11) – Exclusion criteria included grade III or IV IVH or presence of severe neurodevelopmental delays that preclude initiation of oral feeding
- Data collection: Medical history, Results of initial videofluoroscopic swallow-study, Results of serial follow-up studies when applicable
- Trends may exist between initial swallow-study findings and reason for tracheotomy-tube placement:
- Airway issues (n = 10): delayed swallow-initiation (80%), laryngeal penetration (80%), aspiration (50%), residue following swallows (50%), and nasopharyngeal reflux (50%)
- Respiratory distress with BPD (n = 17): delayed swallow-initiation (53%), laryngeal penetration (71%), aspiration (29%), residue following swallows (47%), and nasopharyngeal reflux (41%)
- Among patients who underwent G-tube placement (n = 17):
- Less than half (47%) had documented aspiration on their initial swallow-study.
- Majority (94%) had documented reflux.
- Among patients who underwent follow-up swallow studies (n = 17):
- Laryngeal penetration tended to persist (n = 6) more frequently than it resolved (n = 4).
- Aspiration tended to resolve (n = 5) more frequently than it persisted (n = 2).
- Report of oral motor-impairment (n = 12, 44%) and oral phase-impairment (n=17, 63%) was common.
- All of the patients (n = 27) achieved at least partial or therapeutic oral-feedings as noted on recommendations from their final swallow-study.