Evaluation of Feeding Disorders Including Gastro-Esophageal Reflux and Oropharyngeal Dysfunction in Children With Cerebral Palsy
AbstractObjective: This cross sectional study aims to survey developing feeding disorders and nutritional deficiencies disorders in children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as cerebral palsy.Materials and methods: A total of 50 children (28 boys and 22 girls) with cerebral palsy and symptoms suggesting gastrointestinal problems such as choking, recurrent pneumonia and poor weight gain, who referred to the Pediatric department of Vali-asr Hospital, Imam Khomeini hospital complex between 1 October 2012 and 30 October 2013, were checked. Motor function classification system was used to classify patient's functional gross motor severity. All patients were examined and underwent deglutition videofluroscopy (modified barium swallow) and upper GI endoscopy with esophageal biopsies. Outcome of this study was the prevalence of oropharyngeal incoordination and GERD. Its relationship with some variables like motor and cognitive developmental delay were analyzed and p value < 0.05 was considered significant. Medical therapy and/or oral physiotherapy and nutritional rehabilitation were started. They were examined after 6 months of treatment. Decrease in choking and episodes of respiratory infections that needed hospitalization and weight gain after 6 months treatment were considered as secondary outcomes (response to treatment). Results: Prevalence of GERD was 66% and oropharyngeal dysphagia was estimated 82%. According to results of video-fluroscopy and endoscopic biopsies, 52% of patients were affected by both GERD and oropharyngeal dysfunction. The gross motor function disability was the only variable that significantly related to the prevalence of feeding disorders (p = 0.015). Despite nutritional rehabilitation only 46% of children have weight gain.Conclusion: Feeding disorders such as GERD and oropharyngeal dysfunction are more prevalent in children with cerebral palsy especially in children with severe gross motor disabilities. Since, clinical manifestations of these disorders can be similar accurate diagnostic methods should be selected for all children with cerebral palsy and gastrointestinal symptoms. Treatment should start early to reduce the complications and improve outcomes.
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