Dysphagia is a common problem in children with repaired oesophageal atresia (OA). Abnormalities in the oropharyngeal and oesophageal phase have hardly been studied. The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of dysphagia in children with repaired OA and to identify and differentiate oral and pharyngeal dysphagia based on videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) findings in a limited number of children in this cohort. Medical records of 111 patients, born between January 1996 and July 2013 and treated at the Radboudumc Amalia Children’s Hospital, were retrospectively reviewed.
The prevalence of dysphagia was determined by the objective and modified Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS) in four age groups. The first performed VFSS of 12 children was structurally assessed. The prevalence of dysphagia was 61 of 111 patients (55 %) in age group <1 year. In age group 1–4, 5–11 and 12–18 years, the prevalence of dysphagia decreased from 54 of 106 (51 %) patients to 11 of 64 (17 %) and 5 of 24 (21 %) patients. The 12 VFSS’s reviews revealed oral dysphagia in 36 % and pharyngeal dysphagia in 75 %.
Conclusions: This study highlights dysphagia as an important problem in different age groups of children with repaired OA. Furthermore, our study shows the presence of oropharyngeal dysphagia in this population. This study emphasizes the need to standardize the use of objective dysphagia scales, like the modified FOIS, to provide a careful follow-up of children with repaired OA.*