Salivary gland surgery for chronic pulmonary aspiration in children

Shyan Vijayasekaran, Faruk Unal, Scott A. Schraff, Romaine F. Johnson, Michael J. Rutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Chronic aspiration in the neurologically impaired child has a considerable morbidity and occasional morbidity. Hospitalization, physician visits and health costs associated with the sequelae of aspiration are considerable. Aim: To assess the efficacy of salivary gland surgery to treat chronic aspiration in children. Setting: Tertiary pediatric center. Study design: A 6 year retrospective chart review of all patients undergoing salivary gland surgery to treat chronic aspiration. Outcome parameters: (1) Rate of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI); (2) baseline oxygen saturation pre- and post-surgery. Results: Sixty-two patients aged 7-279 months (mean 68 months) underwent four duct ligation or bilateral submandibular gland excision with unilateral or bilateral parotid duct ligation. The mean rate was 1.2/year pre-operatively and 0.7/year post-operatively (p = 0.6). There was, however, a significant improvement in the baseline post-operative oxygen saturation (mean 94.3%) when compared to the pre-operative baseline oxygen saturation (mean 92.8%, p = 0.003). Analysis of the cerebral palsy subgroup was performed (n = 13). In this group there was no difference between mean pre- and post-operative LRTI rate (p = 0.5) nor change in baseline oxygen saturation (p = 0.83). Children under 3 years of age showed a reduction in the LRTI rate (mean of 2.1 versus 0.7 episodes per year, p = 0.04) and an improvement in the post-operative baseline oxygen saturation (p = 0.001) following surgery. Conclusions: Unlike a previous publication from this institution, when evaluating the population sample as a whole, there was no significant improvement in the rate of LRTI following salivary gland surgery, however, there was an improvement in baseline oxygen saturation, possibly reflecting an improvement in lung function. There was an improvement in neither outcome parameter in children with cerebral palsy and improvements in both outcome measures in children under the age of 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-123
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Aspiration
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Parotid gland
  • Submandibular gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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