Original Research

Swallowing and feeding of young children on high-flow oxygen therapy

Ruhee Hoosain, Bhavani Pillay, Shabnam Abdoola, Marien A. Graham, Esedra Krüger
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 71, No 1 | a1010 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v71i1.1010 | © 2024 Ruhee Hoosain, Bhavani Pillay, Shabnam Abdoola, Marien A. Graham, Esedra Krüger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 August 2023 | Published: 02 March 2024

About the author(s)

Ruhee Hoosain, Department of Speech-Language, Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Bhavani Pillay, Department of Speech-Language, Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Shabnam Abdoola, Department of Speech-Language, Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Marien A. Graham, Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Esedra Krüger, Department of Speech-Language, Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Oral feeding practices of young patients on high-flow oxygen (HFO2) have been controversial. Limited literature exists on this topic, but new studies suggest introducing oral feeds.

Objective: This study aims to describe the changes in swallowing and feeding of a group of young children on HFO2.

Method: Twelve participants (mean age 34.17 months [s.d. = 3.97]) on HFO2 were assessed clinically at the bedside using the Schedule of Oral Motor Assessment. Assessments were conducted twice to determine the change in characteristics: upon approval from the managing doctor when respiratory stability on HFO2 was achieved and for a second time on the last day of receiving HFO2 (mean 2.6 days apart). Patients received standard in-patient care and speech therapy intervention.

Results: Most participants displayed typical oral motor function at initial and final assessments for liquid, puree and semi-solid consistencies. Purees and soft solid consistencies were introduced to most participants (n = 11, 91.7%). Solids and chewables were challenging for all participants during both assessments. Half of the participants displayed gagging and a wet vocal quality with thin liquids at the initial assessment only.

Conclusion: This small-scale study found that HFO2 should not preclude oral diets, but in this sample, small amounts of oral feeding could be introduced with caution, in an individualised manner, and with a collaborative multidisciplinary approach. Further research is essential.

Contribution: Partial oral feeding of specific consistencies was possible during the assessment of young paediatric in-patients on HFO2. Monitoring of individual patient characteristics and risk factors by a specialist feeding team is essential.


Keywords

swallowing; feeding; high-flow oxygen; oral motor characteristics; SOMA; speech-language therapist; burns

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