Background: This study aims to assess current practices of Canadian physicians providing botulinum toxin-A (BoNT-A) treatments for children with hypertonia and to contrast these with international "best practice" recommendations, in order to identify practice variability and opportunities for knowledge translation.
Methods: Thirteen Canadian physicians assembled to develop and analyze results of a cross-sectional electronic survey, sent to 50 physicians across Canada.
Results: Seventy-eight percent (39/50) of physicians completed the survey. The most frequently identified assessment tools were Gross Motor Function Classification System, Modified Tardieu Scale and neurological examination. Goal-setting tools were infrequently utilized. Common indications for BoNT-A injections and the muscles injected were identified. Significant variability was identified in using BoNT-A for hip displacement associated with hypertonia. The most frequent adverse event reported was localized weakness; 54% reporting this "occasionally" and 15% "frequently". Generalized weakness, fatigue, ptosis, diplopia, dysphagia, aspiration, respiratory distress, dysphonia and urinary incontinence were reported rarely or never. For dosage, 52% identified 16 Units/kg body weight of Botox® as maximum. A majority (64%) reported a maximum 400 Units for injection at one time. For localization, electrical stimulation and ultrasound were used infrequently (38% and 19% respectively). Distraction was the most frequently used pain-management technique (64%).
Conclusions: Canadian physicians generally adhere to international best practices when using BoNT-A to treat paediatric hypertonia. Two knowledge-translation opportunities were identified: use of individualized goal setting prior to BoNT-A and enhancing localization techniques. Physicians reported a good safety profile of BoNT-A in children.