Feeding difficulties in infants with unrepaired cleft lip and palate and HIV-exposure
Background: There is limited description of the feeding characteristics of infants with unrepaired cleft lip and palate, exposed to HIV, but not necessarily infected.
Objective: To compare the feeding characteristics of infants with unrepaired cleft lip and palate and HIV-exposure, to infants with unrepaired cleft lip and palate only.
Method: A two-group comparative design with a validated measure, the Neonatal Feeding Assessment Scale was used. The effectiveness of oral feeding skills were included as objective measure. Twelve participants with unrepaired cleft lip and palate and HIV-exposure and 13 with unrepaired cleft lip and palate were matched according to cleft type and use of feeding obturator. There were no differences between the groups for mean age, birth weight and gestation. Participants were between two and 89 days old, bottle fed, and had no syndrome/co-occurring disorder.
Results: Nine (75%) participants in the research group and only two (15.38%) in the control grouppresented with the likelihood of oropharyngeal dysphagia. Apart from feeding difficulties as a result of structural impairment, the research group showed symptoms of neurological involvement.
Conclusion: The research group presented with distinctive symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia. More studies using different measuring tools are required to strengthen the evidence.
Keywords: HIV-exposed infants, unrepaired cleft lip and palate, feeding difficulties.