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Summary of Systematic Review

Sucking and Swallowing in Infants and Diagnostic Tools
da Costa, S. P., van den Engel-Hoek, L., et al. (2008).
Journal of Perinatology, 28(4), 247-57.

This review meets the criteria for a high-quality evidence-based systematic review.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review states a clearly focused question or aim No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes*
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes*
Characteristics of the included studies are provided Yes*

*For selected studies addressing assessment.

This is a review of journal articles pertaining to the development of sucking and swallowing in infants, diagnostic tools to assess the coordination of sucking, swallowing, and breathing, and prognostic impacts of poor sucking and swallowing on later neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Question(s)/Aim(s) Addressed:
This article includes several aims: 1) to explore normal development of early sucking and swallowing; 2) to evaluate current diagnostic approaches to assess the coordination of sucking, swallowing, and breathing; and 3) to establish the prognosis of abnormal sucking and swallowing in infants on later neurodevelopmental outcomes.


Assessment of coordination of sucking, swallowing and breathing.

Number of Studies Included:

Years Included:
1995 to 2006.


  • Assessment/Diagnosis

    • Clinical Examination

      • Several research tools have been developed to assess sucking behavior; however these tools are limited to the measurement of only a subset of relevant aspects of sucking behavior and to assessment of only bottle feeding or breastfeeding, but not both. These tools also require expensive/complicated measuring equipment. The research supporting these tools has been conducted with a small sample size and often without a control group or validity testing. There is a need for the development of a user-friendly, reliable, and noninvasive tool to assess breastfeeding and bottle feeding in infants.

Sponsoring Body:
Not stated.

Swallowing Disorders, Feeding Disorders

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