Feeding problems and weight gain in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. Sep-Nov 2006;10(5-6):231-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2006.08.008. Epub 2006 Oct 10.


The aim of the study was to conduct a survey using a dedicated questionnaire to estimate feeding difficulties, gastrointestinal involvement and weight gain in a population of 118 Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients (age range 13.80-35.8 years). All the answers were entered in a database and the data analysed subdividing the cohort into age groups (3-9, 9-13, 13-18, 18-24, 24-30, 30-36 years). The results indicate that chewing difficulties are frequent and become increasingly present with age, associated with a progressive increase of the duration of meals. Episodes of choking or other clinical signs of swallowing difficulties are in contrast much less frequent even after age 18. Aspiration pneumonia were also not very frequent and only occurred in 7/118. Clinical signs of gastroesophageal reflux requiring treatment were only found in 5 while 43/118 complained of constipation requiring treatment. Very few of our patients had their weight above 2 SD (n = 4) and this was always found in patients between 9 and 18 years while after this age there was an increasing number of patients with weight below 2 SD. The results of our survey suggest that although choking is one of the most feared complications in patients with DMD, clinical signs of swallowing abnormalities are infrequent when collecting clinical information retrospectively. Further studies using an objective evaluation such as videofluoroscopy are needed to identify minor signs that may not be obvious on clinical examination.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / classification
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / drug therapy
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Steroids / therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Gain / drug effects
  • Weight Gain / physiology*


  • Steroids