Swallowing disorders in a population of children with cerebral palsy

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1992 Jul;24(1):63-71. doi: 10.1016/0165-5876(92)90067-y.


One of the disabilities in patients with cerebral palsy (CP) is dysphagia. To establish the prevalence of dysphagia in a population of children with CP, and to determine if any factors are related to dysphagia, we studied 56 CP patients, 5-21 years, enrolled in a primary school for the disabled. Fifteen patients (27%) had either radiographic or clinical evidence of dysphagia. These 15 patients were compared to the remaining 41 patients without dysphagia. Using data obtained from chart review and interviews with speech pathologists, several factors that contributed to dysphagia were found. These included: bite reflexes, slowness of oral intake, poor trunk control, inability to feed independently, anticonvulsant medication, coughing with meals, choking, and pneumonia. We also noted trends in the following factors: presence of tongue thrusting, presence of drooling, severity of CP, poor head control, severity of mental retardation, seizures, and speech disorders. Factors not related to the presence of dysphagia include: subject age, cause of CP, and type of CP. Early, aggressive work-up and identification in CP patients with the risk factors outlined above can reduce the associated pulmonary complications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deglutition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index