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Sucking Versus Swallowing Coordination, Integration, And Performance In Preterm And Term Infants

Christopher J. Mayerl, Chloe E. Edmonds, Emily A. Catchpole, Alexis M. Myrla, Francois D. H. Gould, Laura E. Bond, Bethany M. Stricklen, Rebecca Z. German

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Physiological maturation of infant feeding is clinically and developmentally significant, but seldom examined as an integrated function. Using longitudinal high-speed videofluoroscopic data, we found that properties of sucking, such as the length of the suck, are more sensitive to swallow physiology than those associated with the pharyngeal swallow itself, such as hyoid excursion. Prematurity impacted the function and maturation of the feeding system, resulting in a physiology that fundamentally differs from term infants by weaning.