Quantification of Intraoral Pressures During Nutritive Sucking: Methods with Normal Infants

William Christopher Lang, Neil R. M. Buist, Annmarie Geary, Scott Buckley, Elizabeth Adams, Albyn C. Jones, Stephen Gorsek, Susan C. Winter, Hanh Tran and Brian R. Rogers

Dysphagia Volume 26, Number 3 (2011), 277-286, DOI: 10.1007/s00455-010-9305-1

Abstract

We report quantitative measurements of ten parameters of nutritive sucking behavior in 91 normal full-term infants obtained using a novel device (an Orometer) and a data collection/analytical system (Suck Editor). The sucking parameters assessed include the number of sucks, mean pressure amplitude of sucks, mean frequency of sucks per second, mean suck interval in seconds, sucking amplitude variability, suck interval variability, number of suck bursts, mean number of sucks per suck burst, mean suck burst duration, and mean interburst gap duration. For analyses, test sessions were divided into 4 × 2-min segments. In single-study tests, 36 of 60 possible comparisons of ten parameters over six pairs of 2-min time intervals showed a p value of 0.05 or less. In 15 paired tests in the same infants at different ages, 33 of 50 possible comparisons of ten parameters over five time intervals showed p values of 0.05 or less. Quantification of nutritive sucking is feasible, showing statistically valid results for ten parameters that change during a feed and with age. These findings suggest that further research, based on our approach, may show clinical value in feeding assessment, diagnosis, and clinical management.

Keywords  Infant feeding – Nutritive sucking – Oral-motor function – Orometer – Suck Editor – Deglutition – Deglutition disorders

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