Objective: To characterize the integrity of non-nutritive suck (NNS) parameters among three groups of preterm infants ranging from normal to those with progressive degrees of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Study Design: NNS compression waveforms were sampled from 55 infants in the neonatal intensive care unit using a silicone pacifier electronically instrumented for intraluminal pressure. Seven select NNS parameters were measured at two different sessions, and statistically analyzed using a General Linear Model Analysis of Covariance. Results and conclusions: Preterm infants with a more extensive history of RDS and oxygen therapy manifest significantly (p ≤ 0.001) degraded performance on six of the seven NNS measures. This trend was disproportionately amplified in preterm infants with moderate-to-severe RDS. Prolonged periods of RDS requiring oxygen therapy may cause maladaptive orosensory experiences, and restrict oral movements which may contribute to delayed NNS development.
- Non-nutritive suck
- Oromotor restriction
- Preterm birth
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Sensory deprivation