The Effect of Pulse Rate on Swallow Parameter Ratings and Feeding Recommendations for Infants in the NICU

April 29, 2021 5:15 pm

This study examined the effect of fluoroscopic pulse rate on speech-language pathologists’ ratings of swallow parameters, and feeding recommendations, for infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Modified Barium Swallow Studies (MBS) are used to assess oropharyngeal swallow function and safety.  While the MBS is considered the standard for the assessment of infant swallowing, it requires the use of radiation.  Therefore, clinicians performing MBS must explore ways to reduce radiation exposure to the infant, while insuring high quality diagnostic information.  One approach to reduce radiation exposure is to decrease the number of fluoroscopic pulses per second, from 30pps to 15pps.  However, previous literature suggests that important swallow events may be missed if fewer images are procured, resulting in misdiagnosing the presence and/or severity of swallow impairment.  To date this query has not been systematically assessed in the NICU population.


  • Julian White, MS, CCC-SLP, CLC

    Julian White, M.S., CCC-SLP, CLC is a doctoral candidate at James Madison University where she also received her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology in 2016. Her clinical focus and research interests are pediatric dysphagia. Her primary area of research investigates best practices for instrumental evaluation of infant swallowing. Julian continues to practice as a pediatric SLP at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital, specializing in swallow evaluations for patients in the NICU, PICU, pediatric floors, and outpatient feeding clinic, and at the Voice and Swallow Clinic at Sentara RMH. Julian enjoys presenting at state and national scientific conferences on topics of instrumental assessment of pediatric dysphagia and management of dysphagia in the schools.

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