Affiliations: [a] The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA | [b] Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA | [c] Le Bonheur Early Intervention and Development, Memphis, TN, USA
Corresponding author: Memorie M. Gosa, The University of Alabama Department of Communicative Disorders, 308 Old Capstone, Medical Center Box 870242, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA. Tel.: +1 205 348 7131; Fax: +1 205 348 1845; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abstract: PURPOSE: A rise in pediatric patients with swallowing and feeding problems has resulted in increased interest in multidisciplinary treatments to address these issues. This evidence based systematic review (EBSR) examined the published evidence for the use of common strategies used by clinicians across disciplines to treat pediatric swallowing and feeding problems. METHODS: A systematic search of 10 electronic databases was completed to identify relevant, peer reviewed literature published in English prior to December 2015 reporting original data that addressed at least one of the five identified clinical questions. RESULTS: Sixty-one studies of varying methodological quality were included. The majority of the included studies (60/61) focused on the use of behavioral therapies to remediate swallowing and feeding disorders in children and reported mixed findings across all of the targeted outcomes. CONCLUSION: There is insufficient quantity of evidence to determine the effects of oral motor, sensory, and pharmaceutical therapies on functional feeding outcomes in pediatric populations. A larger body of phase 1 evidence is available that establishes the efficacy of behavioral strategies to treat some swallowing and feeding difficulties in small cohort and single subject studies. This analysis identified limited high quality (phase 4) research articles that establish the efficacy and benefit of joint nutrition and behavior intervention programs and systematic desensitization and operant conditioning behavioral therapy approaches to improve functional feeding and swallowing outcomes in children.
Keywords: Pediatrics, dysphagia, feeding disorders, treatment, evidence based systematic review