EPN 2022

Deepa Awasthi

Deepa Awasthi, Speaker at Neonatology Conferences
L.T.M.Medical College & G.Hospital, India
Title : Neonatal Feeding Assessment as a Predictor of Neuromotor Integrity and Developmental Outcomes: A Scoping Review


Background: Nervous system development and maturity of sucking organization, occur in parallel. Clinical assessment of an infant’s oral-motor system, may provide an inexpensive measure of early neurological function.

Aim: To analyse Neonatal Feeding Assessment as an indicator of Neuromotor integrity and its associated
developmental outcomes in infants.

Methodology: The Study was a Scoping Review. Scientific databases like MEDLINE, EpiINFO, Biosis Preview, Google Scholar and PUBMED were searched from their inception to June, 2021. The search strategy included terms “neonate” AND “feeding” OR “sucking” OR “swallow” AND “assessment” AND “neuromotor” OR “developmental” AND “effect” OR “indicator” OR “outcome measure”. References from key papers were scanned. Articles not published in English or for which only abstract was available, were excluded.

Results: 2 studies concluded higher rate of developmental delay on Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID) in infants with poor scores on Neonatal Oro-Motor Assessment Scale (NOMAS) at 6, 12 and 18 months of age, respectively. A Pilot Study, demonstrated correlation of specific sucking parameters with microstructural integrity of the sensorimotor tracts that control neonatal oral feeding. Researchers have deduced quantitative sucking assessment to potentially result in earlier diagnosis of diffuse white matter brain injuries.

Conclusion: Studies revealed a significant correlation between feeding assessment and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Although, there is scarce evidence regarding the relation between early sucking, swallowing problems and neonatal brain injury. Further research regarding the clinical implication of Neonatal Feeding examination as a marker for neuronal brain injury and its subsequent neurodevelopmental outcomes, is recommended.

What will audience learn from your presentation?

  • The concept of a brain injury affecting the oral feeding of a neonate is prevalent globally. Although, flip side of the same, as discussed in the current Study, will help the audience in identifying brain injury through the neonate’s feeding analysis.
  • The study could be instrumental in the identification of neonates in need of therapeutic interventions, thus, enhancing clinical practice for the audience.
  • Cost-effective bedside neonatal feeding assessment will ensure a practical solution to the audience through evidence-based screening of neonates who are at a high risk of developmental delay.
  • Clinical implications of the Study could be pivotal for the multi-disciplinary patient care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) of the audience.
  • The current Scoping review may be a useful tool in the increasing arsenal of evidence synthesis approach.
  • This research will pave way for future longitudinal studies to assess the short and long-term developmental outcomes in neonates with poor feeding performance.


Dr. Deepa Awasthi is a former Occupational therapy graduate from Seth G.S.M.C & K.E.M, Mumbai, India and is currently, pursuing her Post-graduation in Occupational Therapy in Developmental Disabilities at L.T.M.M.C, Mumbai, India. She has received the Best Student Award for the Academic Year, 2015-2016 and has won the Best Scientific Paper Presentation at the Annual Conference of Association of Neonatal therapist for two consecutive years of 2020 and 2021. In March 2021, she was conferred with the Gazala Makada Award for Best Paper Presentation in Pediatrics at Virtual OTICON 2021, along with 4 Paper Publications in International Peer-reviewed Journals.