Improved Infant Swallowing After Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Treatment: A Function of Improved Laryngeal Sensation?

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The objective of this study was to describe improvements in pediatric swallowing after gastroesophageal reflux treatment.

Study Design:

The authors conducted a retrospective database and chart review at two tertiary care children's hospitals.


Patients (21 males, 7 females) ranged in age from 1 to 32 months. All patients had clinical evidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as well as evidence of dysphagia with aspiration (laryngeal vestibule and/or trachea) or hypopharyngeal pooling on flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing and sensation testing (FEESST) or videofluoroscopic swallow study (VSS).


Each child underwent either medical or surgical intervention for control of their GERD.

Outcome Measures:

Outcome measures were change in laryngopharyngeal sensation and swallowing function with repeat swallow evaluation after GERD treatment.


A significant improvement in both swallow function and sensory testing was demonstrated after GERD treatment.


GERD may result in decreased laryngopharyngeal sensitivity, which may contribute to pediatric swallowing dysfunction. Control of GERD may improve swallow function. These findings have important clinical implications that need further study.

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