Objectives: Laryngomalacia is an established cause of stridor and sleep-disordered breathing in children. However, the relationship between laryngomalacia and dysphagia has not been well characterized. The objectives of this study were to (1) describe the patient characteristics, symptoms, and prevalence of dysphagia in children with laryngomalacia and (2) examine the effectiveness of supraglottoplasty in improving feeding. Methods: This was a retrospective study of patients with laryngomalacia who underwent a modified barium swallow study (MBSS) at a tertiary academic pediatric medical center between March 1, 2014, and March 1, 2018. Patients were excluded if they did not undergo a MBSS. Comorbidities, airway and feedings symptoms, MBSS results, and surgical history were recorded from each patient’s electronic medical record. Results: Forty-four children met inclusion/exclusion criteria. The median age at presentation was 96 days. There was a male predominance (66%). About one-third had a genetic or neuromuscular comorbidity. Most children had stridor (93%) and feeding difficulty (86%), while 50% had parent-reported poor weight gain. Fifty-seven percent of patients had evidence of penetration or aspiration on MBSS. All patients with a positive MBSS had dysphagia symptoms. Fifty-seven percent of patients underwent supraglottoplasty. Postoperatively, 92% reported improvement in dysphagia symptoms. Conclusion: Dysphagia is prevalent among a subset of children with laryngomalacia. Symptomatic children may benefit from a swallow evaluation to help determine the need for further intervention. Children who undergo supraglottoplasty for laryngomalacia have improved dysphagia at follow-up, though the amount of improvement directly attributable to surgery is unclear and warrants further investigation.
- swallow study
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