Dysphagia in children with infantile cerebral palsy
Otapowicz D1, Sobaniec W, Okurowska-Zawada B, Artemowicz B, Sendrowski K, Kułak W, Boćkowski L, Kuzia-Śmigielska J.
PURPOSE:Dysphagia is a significant health problem in children with infantile cerebral palsy (ICP), but not frequently discussed in the literature. The study objective was to analyse dysphagia symptoms in children with a pyramidal form of ICP, including the oral and pharyngeal phases of deglutition and dysarthria severity. We searched for a correlation between dysphagia severity and ICP type, mental development and occurrence of epilepsy.
MATERIAL AND METHODS:A total of 67 children with a pyramidal form of infantile cerebral palsy were studied. Data were obtained based on case history elicited from the mothers, analysis of medical and psychological documentation, and logopaedic examination, including an examination of the action of swallowing.
RESULTS:Dysphagia symptoms were found in 41 (61%) studied children, most frequently referring only to the oral phase (25 children), with concomitant mild and moderate dysarthria. Oral and pharyngeal dysfunctions were observed in 14 children and coexisted with more pronounced dysarthria symptoms. The most severe disorders were mainly found in the pharyngeal phase in 2 children. A statistically significant correlation was noted between the severity of dysphagia symptoms and the ICP type (p<0.044) and mental development (p<0.00002).
CONCLUSIONS:Swallowing dysfunctions occur in the majority of children (>50%) with ICP. More serious disorders involving the oral and pharyngeal phases mainly affect children with tetraplegia and profound mental impairment. These disorders continue from early infancy through childhood and adolescence and improvement has been mainly observed when only the oral phase of swallowing is affected. These are always accompanied by dysarthria symptoms, which are especially severe when dysphagia involves the oral and pharyngeal phases. Early assessment and stimulation of the swallowing function should be a common element in the rehabilitation and care of children with ICP.