Clinical signs and symptoms of oropharyngeal aspiration and dysphagia in children

K WEIR, S MCMAHON, L BARRY, Ian Brent Masters, Anne Chang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The diagnostic value of various signs and symptoms (clinical markers) in predicting oropharyngeal aspiration (OPA) or swallowing dysfunction has not been established in children. The present retrospective study was undertaken to: 1) identify specific clinical markers associated with radiographic evidence of OPA, isolated laryngeal penetration (ILP) and post-swallow residue (PSR); 2) determine the sensitivity and specificity of clinical markers associated with OPA; and 3) determine the influence of age and neurological impairment on clinical markers of OPA. In total, 11 clinical markers of dysphagia were compared with the videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) results (OPA, ILP and PSR) in 150 children on diets of thin fluid and pur�consistencies. Chi-squared and logistic regression were used to analyse the association between clinical markers and VFSS-identified swallowing dysfunction. In children with OPA, wet voice (odds ratio (OR) 8.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.87-27.62), wet breathing (OR 3.35, 95% CI 1.09-10.28) and cough (OR 3.30, 95% CI 1.17-9.27) were significantly associated with thin fluid OPA. Predictive values included: wet voice (sensitivity 0.67; specificity 0.92); wet breathing (sensitivity 0.33; specificity 0.83); and cough (sensitivity 0.67; specificity 0.53). No clinical markers were significantly associated with OPA, ILP or PSR on the pur�consistency. Cough was significantly associated with PSR on thin fluids (OR 3.59, 95% CI 1.22-10.55). Differences were found for age. Wet voice, wet breathing and cough were good clinical markers for children with oropharyngeal aspiration on thin fluid but not on pur� Age and neurological status influenced the significance of these clinical markers. Copyright�ERS Journals Ltd 2009.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)604-611
    Number of pages8
    JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical signs and symptoms of oropharyngeal aspiration and dysphagia in children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this