Pediatric radiology

Analysis of carbonated thin liquids in pediatric neurogenic dysphagia.

PMID 25758792


Aspiration of liquids is a serious complication of neurological impairments such as traumatic brain injury or stroke. Carbonated liquids have been examined as a possible alternative to thickened liquids to help reduce aspiration in cases of dysphagia in adults, but no published literature to the best of our knowledge has evaluated this technique in children. If carbonated liquids result in safer swallowing in children, they could provide a preferred alternative to thickened liquids. This pilot study examined whether carbonated thin liquids (CARB) improved swallowing compared to non-carbonated thin liquids (NOCARB) for children with neurogenic dysphagia. Twenty-four children admitted to a level I trauma center for acute neurological injury/disease were evaluated via videofluoroscopic swallow studies. Four descriptive outcome measures were contrasted. CARB significantly decreased pooling (P = 0.0006), laryngeal penetration/aspiration (P = 0.0044) and Penetration-Aspiration Scale scores (P = 0.0127) when compared to NOCARB. On average, CARB improved scores on the Penetration-Aspiration Scale by 3.7 points for participants who aspirated NOCARB. There was no significant difference in pharyngeal residue noted between CARB and NOCARB (P = 0.0625). These findings support the hypothesis that carbonated thin liquids may provide an alternative to thickened liquids for children with neurogenic dysphagia. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.