The study sought to quantify the viscosity differences between a variety of commercial food-based formulas and home-prepared blenderized feeds used for enteral feeding in the clinical management of gastroesophageal reflux and gastroesophageal reflux-related aspiration in children with oropharyngeal dysphagia. A digital rotating viscometer and the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative Syringe Flow Test were used to determine the viscosity of commercial and home mixes. Additional research was carried out to investigate the effect of cereal addition, water flushes, and freezing/thawing on formula viscosity. By Syringe Flow Test, the viscosity of commercial mixes varied significantly, with results ranging from very to slightly thick. The greatest and lowest centipoise (cP) values were 13,847 and 330 and 438 cP, respectively. Dilutions of 240 mL of commercial mix with 30, 60, and 90 mL of water resulted in viscosity reductions of 31%, 62%, and 85%, respectively. Depending on the mix, a single freeze/thaw cycle reduced viscosity by up to 59 percent to 80 percent. The addition of rice or oats to traditional pediatric formulas did not reach the consistency of most blenderized meals.
The viscosity of commercial food-based formulas and home-prepared mixes varies significantly, ranging from thin to highly thick liquids, with the majority attaining viscosity greater than thickened formula. The addition of free water, as well as freezing and thawing, reduces viscosity. These findings can help clinicians decide on a feeding plan based on the aims of nutritional treatment.